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In-depth: Nikolay Goldobin

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Canucks freelance writer

On Tuesday night, the Canucks completed a deal during their game with the Detroit Red Wings, sending veteran winger Jannik Hansen to San Jose for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth round pick.

This move followed the same theme as the Alex Burrows trade earlier this week, where the Canucks acquire a young forward with offensive upside who can be part of the organization for years to come. Moving Hansen was likely a product of the upcoming NHL expansion draft, and the organization was wise to take advantage of the trade deadline market and solve the possible exposure issues in advance.

But let's focus on Goldobin and what he brings to the Canucks organization.

The young Russian winger is a shifty skater who is dangerous whenever he has the puck. Whether that is using his impressively deceptive shot or creating plays for his teammates, opponents can have trouble limiting his opportunities when he is in control of the puck. Goldobin is able to play with pace, but also has the ability to slow the game down to help make players make mistakes. Goldobin will need to add strength, consistency and work on his game in the defensive zone to translate his game to the NHL.

He has already seen some tangible improvement in his defensive game this season, so it's not far fetched for an expectation for him to continue those strides in his 200 foot game.

The 5'11" and 185 lbs winger was selected 27th overall by the Sharks after an extremely impressive season with the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League. He put up 38 goals and 56 assists in 67 games during that 2013-14 season with Sarnia, leading the team by 23 points.

Following the 13-14 season, he was signed to an entry level contract and then loaned to HIFK in Liiga, which the highest professional hockey league in Finland. During his time there, Goldobin posted 11 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. That was good enough for 4th amongst players under 20 years old, but was first for point-per-game rate of that group with 0.55 PPG.

He also represented Russia at the World Juniors that year, putting up five points in 7 games on way to a Silver medal.

Goldobin made the jump to the AHL for nine games to close out the year, where he had thre goals and 2 assists.

Last season with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL, Goldobin put up 21 goals and 23 assists in 60 games.

Looking at his point breakdown with the Barracuda this season, the image below includes his goals, assists and rolling PPG rate throughout the year:

After a four game stretch where he was held pointless, he has points in ten of his last twelve games. Which includes points in his last five games, where he had four goals and four assists.

Goldobin is currently 26th in the AHL in scoring with the 41 points in 46 games. That total would be first in Utica. He has 5 power-play goals and 10 power-play assists

The Moscow native is averaging 1.98 shot per game this season, which results in a SH% of 16.5%. Shooting percentages are generally inflated in the AHL compared to the NHL, which is in part due to the level of goaltending between the two leagues. Ideally Goldobin will shoot more to counter-act the inevitable regression when making the full time leap to the NHL.

Canucks General Manager Jim Benning was made available after the trade to discuss Goldobin.

"Nikolay is a gifted offensive player with good hands and good release on his shot," said Benning. "His play away from the puck has improved this year in the American League and we believe with his skillset and continued development, he has the ability to become a valuable member of our team."

With the acquisition of Jonathan Dahlen earlier this week, the Canucks have added some great offensive skill to a prospect pool that was lacking it. Both of them may be a few years away from making a big impact, as all prospects are, but there is no doubting that they have the skill-set that may become something.

Goldobin has appeared in 11 NHL games over the course of the past seasons, where he has one goal and one assist. He will get a chance to add to those totals with the Canucks this season, as it's expected that Goldobin will suit up for the Canucks in the coming days.

Despite some long time members of the team being moved out, these additions make for exciting times for Canucks fans right now and going into the off-season.

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