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Nikolay Goldobin as a Healthy Scratch is Hot Garbage

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Jussi Jokinen is in? Over Goldobin? What unearthly paradox are we living in?

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks
Feb 20, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin (77) celebrates his goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov (1) (not pictured) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

When the present is bleak, there’s nothing to do but look ahead and ask yourself, how can I improve in the future?

That’s the question Canucks management should be asking themselves every day when the wake up, when the eat breakfast, when the take a morning dump, and a few more times throughout the day before they go to bed.

When they ask themselves this question, I would really like to know where they get the idea of playing Jussi Jokinen ahead of Nikolay Goldobin.

On a team that desperately needs to see what they have in their young talent, there cannot be a good justification for having the 34-year-old Jokinen play ahead of guys like Goldobin. There is a 0% chance that Jokinen will be on this team next year, so why play him in a top-six role beside two future Hall of Famers?

During a forgettable spring of 2017 for the Canucks, Willie Desjardins put Goldobin on a line with the Sedin twins. The trio had some moderate success, and it was a role where Goldobin was able to showcase his offensive talents.

Fast forward to tonight’s game, and the projected lines show us that Goldobin is going to sit in favour of Jokinen and other offensively inept players like Nic Dowd.

The question becomes, why pour a bag of cajun into an already festering wound?

No Coach’s Darling

It’s clear from Goldobin’s experience in the NHL that he is no coach’s favourite.

Whether it’s from his reputation of being soft on defence or lack of engagement, Goldobin has often been given the shaft by both Desjardins and Travis Green.

What’s happening now with Green, however, borders on ridiculous. Unless Goldobin was caught going for the change-up without permission, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be given a chance to ‘compete hard’ for the remainder of the season.

Goldobin hasn’t asserted himself as a bona fide NHL player, but you could argue that he hasn’t been given a fair shake, either. Of the 25 games he’s played this season, Goldobin has only surpassed the 14-minute mark seven times. In six of those games, Green gave Goldy more ice time since a loss was already evident. The only time that wasn’t the case? Last night in Arizona when Goldobin was on the top line.

This looks like a player who has all the offensive tools to play in the NHL. He also looks like one who is either overthinking the game or one who is battling confidence issues. Why not let him run free for 13 games and see what happens?

Not All That Glitters is Gold

To play devil’s advocate for Green, you can vaguely picture his logic behind the disdain towards Goldobin.

Green got to coach Goldy for a few games last year, so he probably had an idea of what his strengths and weaknesses were. In those three games Goldobin had in Utica, he scored four goals. However, the knock on Goldobin at both the NHL and AHL level was the lack of defensive awareness in his game.

The argument behind teaching defensive responsibility is a sound one. However if that’s the case, why is Goldobin sitting in favour for a player like Dowd? The Canucks recent acquisition has been underwhelming defensively for Vancouver all season. He’s also 28 in May, and has eight (!) career goals in 122 NHL games. Goldobin has that many career goals in only 48 games played.

Goldobin is never going to be a shutdown forward for the Canucks, or for any professional hockey team he plays for. That’s not why Benning acquired Goldobin.

The Canucks have a need for wingers who can chip in on offence, and there’s no better time then now to see if Goldobin is that guy. With stellar offensive prospects like Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen and Kole Lind on the way, the Canucks need to know now if Goldobin can play at the NHL level.

If he can’t, at least they need to try and see if they can get something for him via trade. By scratching him, the organization doesn’t win, the fans don’t win, and Goldobin doesn’t win.

In hindsight however, it might be a victory for Team Tank, which should include most Canucks fans at this point. Maybe we just solved the answer to the Goldy riddle after all...