Canucks sign European free agent goalie Nikita Tolopilo to contract

Mar 31 2023, 6:27 pm

The Vancouver Canucks have added a new goalie to the organization, signing Nikita Tolopilo, a free agent netminder out of Europe.

Tolopilo, who turns 23 next week, starred with Södertälje SK in the HockeyAllsvenskan, the second-best pro league in Sweden. A native of Minsk, Belarus, Tolopilo inked a two-year, entry-level contract worth $950,000 annually in the NHL, or just $82,500 if he’s sent to the minors according to CapFriendly.

“We are excited to have agreed to terms with Nikita as we continue to build out our prospect pool and add to our organization’s depth in goal,” said Canucks GM Patrik Allvin. “He provides a combination of tremendous size and skill and has developed well at the professional level the past two seasons in Sweden, serving as one of the more accomplished goaltenders in his league this year.”

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 229 pounds, the undrafted goalie certainly fills the net. Tolopilo led the HockeyAllsvenskan in games played (45) and wins (28) and ranked fourth in save percentage (.924), fourth in shutouts (4), and fifth in goals-against average (2.10).

Tolopilo turned pro in 2019 and split time between the KHL and the Belarussian domestic league prior to making the move to Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan in 2021. He appeared in 34 games in 2021-22, compiling an 11-21-0 record with an .899 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average on a team that narrowly avoided relegation.

Tolopilo gives the Canucks four goaltenders under contract for next season, joining Thatcher Demko, Spencer Martin, and Arturs Silovs. Collin Delia is a pending unrestricted free agent.

It remains to be seen where he’ll play next season, although the backup job in Vancouver does appear up for grabs.

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