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Looking at Tryamkin’s Terrific KHL Season and Olympic Snub

Could the Olympic snub possibly persuade Tryamkin to come back to Vancouver?

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NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers
Apr 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin (88) chases after the puck against Edmonton Oilers defenseman Kris Russell (4) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

With Adam Gaudette coming to town, Canucks fans are getting their yearly moment of glee during the end of season blues.

Last year, it was super-rookie Brock Boeser who took the team by storm. The Burnsville, Minnesota native immediately looked like he was the best player on the team, just days after wrapping up his collegiate career.

The year before that, it was all about the arrival of Nikita Tryamkin.

On March 10th, 2016, the 6’7” Russian descended on Vancouver to prop up interest in a dying season. It worked, as people were infatuated with catching a glimpse of “Zdeno Chara 2.0” out on the ice. He was even cheered just for stepping onto the ice for his first shift, all 11 seconds of it.

After steady progression in his first NHL season, Tryamkin decided to bolt back to Russia, citing both “hockey and family reasons” for his departure.

Now two years later, Tryamkin has come and gone, and Gaudette has his jersey number.

Life sure does move fast.

There’s always going to be that talk about Tryamkin returning to Vancouver. After the season he just had in Russia, that option looks even more enticing.

Tryamkin Evolving With Avtomobilist

From a career standpoint, I’m sure Tryamkin has no complaints about returning home to Yekaterinburg.

Not ever known as an offensive defenceman, Tryamkin added that element to his game in 2017-18. Previously, he had nine goals and 28 points in 188 career KHL games. This season alone, he added another nine goals and 25 points in 53 games.

In the three-and-a-half seasons previous to this one, Tryamkin never had more than four goals and 11 points in a season. That ended up being his last season before he joined the Canucks for a brief stint.

It’s a bit of an astonishing rise for Tryamkin in terms of points, but you could see him being on the verge of doing great things in Vancouver. There were moments when he would carry the puck from end to end with speed, trying to create offence. Although his craft wasn’t perfected, you could see him being a dangerous player if he continued to work on his game.

And let’s face it: a guy that big has no business skating that fast.

Unfortunately under Willie Desjardins, Tryamkin’s confidence seemed low and his frustration level was high. Despite citing family reasons, the aforementioned quarrels seem to have fueled his departure from Vancouver.

Gauging Tryamkin’s Potential Return

Of course, all signs point to Tryamkin being nothing but happy to be back home in Russia. However, there are recent reports that possibly give hope to a potential Tryamkin return.

There was one article from Jason Brough of The Athletic in December, in which Jim Benning said Tryamkin “holds all the cards” when it pertains to a return. Not very encouraging, but perhaps the latest bit of news holds some merit.

Even though it doesn’t apply directly to Tryamkin, Russian sports reporter Slava Malamud sounded off about corruption in the KHL, and about how the whole league is set up for SKA St. Petersburg to win the Gagarin Cup. He cites reasons such as a payroll six times the limit and the fact that SKA getting first dibs on all import players.

Another reason why they are “guaranteed” to win this season is because most of the team ended up representing the Olympics Athletes from Russia at the Olympics. One of the reasons why SKA was allowed to allegedly circumvent rules, is because they wanted the Olympic team to play together in order to build chemistry.

The roster contains 25 players, 16 of which are from SKA. The other players are only from CKSA Moscow (7) and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (2).

Of the seven defencemen on the team, five were from SKA and two were from CKSA. Tryamkin actually outscored every single defenceman on that roster by seasons end, with only Slava Voynov passing him in points-per-game.

Basically, it looks like Tryamkin was snubbed from the Olympics simply for playing on the wrong team. It had nothing to do with his on-ice merits.

This is purely speculation, of course, but perhaps a lack of democracy in the KHL could turn Tryamkin towards a Vancouver return.