The Vancouver Canucks will have to wait for at least another year before seeing Nikita Tryamkin in an NHL uniform.
On Thursday morning, the 6’8″ defenceman deferred his return, signing a one-year deal with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, his hometown team.
Nikita Tryamkin (11 P, 58 GP, +10) is set to play 8th season with Avto. pic.twitter.com/z8WIV39bbN
— KHL (@khl_eng) July 16, 2020
Tryamkin’s KHL contract expired in late-April, which provided a window for the Canucks to sign the Russian skater. Ultimately, there were a number of reported factors that prevented a deal from being made.
In an interview with TSN 1040, Tryamkin’s agent Todd Diamond said that he “couldn’t wait any longer” and that the “risk was too high for him.”
“Our intent all along was to return to Vancouver,” Diamond told TSN Radio. “But obviously with the pandemic and the delay in the season starting and also the delay in being able to discuss the 2021 contract with the Canucks, it just became too risky for Nikita if there was any further delay in NHL games.”
He noted that salary cap space was an obvious issue and that Tryamkin was “sincerely excited about returning.”
“I don’t need anyone to tell me that they have cap issues,” Diamond said. “They have a lot of balls to juggle and a lot of difficult decisions that need to be made.”
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Space issues could have also played a role in the decision. The Canucks currently have four NHL defenceman under contract for next season (Alex Edler, Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn, and Quinn Hughes), with Troy Stecher as a restricted free agent.
Chris Tanev and Oscar Fantenberg are set to become unrestricted free agents and the team recently inked defensive prospect Jack Rathbone to a three-year entry level contract.
“They’re probably feeling a little bit of relief that we took one of the issues off the table for them,” Diamond points out. “On our end, there’s a little bit of disappointment.
Tryamkin, who hasn’t seen NHL play in nearly three years, remains the property of the Vancouver Canucks for one more year.
With files from Rob Williams…