Who Is This Guy ?
Ronalds Kenins. The Latvian Locomotive.
Position: Left Wing
Height: 6'0" (1.82m )
Weight: A very sturdy 201 lbs, or 91 kilograms
Born: Febuary 28th, 1991, in Riga, Latvia. Signed from the Swiss league for the 2015 season.
What Did He Do?
Well, the boss says I have to find something to write about here about what he did, but Ronalds Kenins only got in 8 NHL games this year. The bulk of his work was in the AHL. While I follow them on the scoreboard, we don't get to see the Utica games in Lotusland. This would have been much easier last year, when he was in 30+ games in both leagues.
But let's see what I can do with eight games. Part of his season was derailed due to injury, but as the folks at the Canucks' Fansided blog point out here, Kenins decided he was going to go for it and be a scorer instead of the play that got him noticed and nicknamed within a week of his insertion into the lineup, and forsook his two way game. That does not go over well on this team.
I loved that guy, even when he was not scoring or getting points, because he played that fourth line forechecking winger role very well. Maybe his problem was, he became to excited when he had some initial offensive success. He has a good wrist shot, and can get the corners on occasion. But the reasons he got his chance got forgotten, and the youth movement did the rest this year, as he was passed by on the depth chart.
Was he any good?
Again. Eight games. I am not going to go nuts on the hockeyanalysis.com breakdown or anything for this guy. I just do not think it fair to do that with such a small sample size. The eye test will have to suffice. Unfortunately, for Ronalds, he just could not recover that mojo that made him a quick fan favorite. With 19 hits in 8 games ( 2 blocks, no points and a -2 ), he threw a couple a game. But it was more about how he played the game. Like, instead of getting back, staying in too long in the offensive zone, trying to get that puck back. Or, conversely, jumping the gun when your defenseman gets the puck, blasting off for the other end.
Now, that can be a good thing, but you have to be able to read the game. The usual, high percentage play of staying up near the blue line that second longer to help get it out is a "high percentage play" for a reason. Sometimes it is the right play. Your guy has it with time to pass it to you, and you get the breakaway. But, as we saw far too often this year, when teams would pressure the Canucks at the line, they coughed it up and got scored on, or gave up another high quality chance.
The Canucks obviously thought that Keins was one of the guys that jumped the zone a little too often. Which is a shame, he does have the tools.
What Did We Like?
The vids will have to be over the more than this year. OK Youtube, whatcha got !?
His first NHL goal. That wrister.
He got his 1st playoff goal with a great shot too. And Hughie called him "Ronny" too.
He does have a great story. From waterboy the NHLer!
What did we hate ?
I prefaced it above, but I hate that he could not match his start in the NHL with consistent play. The skills are there. He has speed, a hard and deceptive wrister, and hits like a bowling ball. Last year, and from what I can remember of him this year ( inference intended. He just was less noticeable this time around ), he would show those skills in frustrating flashes. It is hard to pay in the NHL, I suppose. That's why only about 750 players can put that in the "occupation" box on their census. The jury is not totally out on Mr. Kenins, but the circumstantial evidence is starting to pile up.
So, What Now ?
Hard to say. Perhaps he fits in the plans, he is only 25. The team has their decisions to make, and he is an UFA ( according to Capfriendly. ) coming off of a one way, 600K deal where he was able to pass through waivers without any takers. Perhaps the Canucks have some interest, perhaps not. ( more likely the latter, he was up for grabs for anything on waiver, and on JB's list of players he wanted to trade this year but no one wanted...) There was a rumour ( in the story linked above ) that he could go back to the Swiss League as well. Who knows?
Alas Mr Kenins. We just got to know you, and you went away. Good luck in those future travels if you go.