If the biggest debate among Vancouver Canucks fans and media this year is once again Nikolay Goldobin, then something will have gone wrong in the team’s bid to make the playoffs.
The controversial forward was the subject of many arguments—the basic premise of which was whether the Russian deserved a spot on the team or not. Of course, actually good teams don’t generate this kind of debate about players who score 27 points in 63 games.
For the record, Goldobin was one of the more talented players on the Canucks last season, full stop. He created chances most of the team’s forwards weren’t capable of and, frankly, was the victim of some bad luck.
He also looked good with Elias Pettersson (though, yeah, not that hard), but it’s hard to see him back in that position this season. The Canucks made it a priority this offseason to go out and get wingers to help Pettersson and Bo Horvat produce. And they did that, acquiring Micheal Ferland and J.T. Miller, not to mention Tanner Pearson at the trade deadline.
Goldobin was also healthy scratched for a handful of games near the end of the year, signaling to many that the club would try to find a trade for him.
Alas, they ended up signing him to a one-year deal worth $900,000.
It’s a low-risk deal and a chance for Goldobin to prove to the Canucks that he can be an everyday player in the NHL. And while he might not get the opportunity to play in the top-six right away, one has to think that injuries will come to this team as they always do, and he’ll likely get a look.
But the Canucks bringing Goldobin back isn’t really akin to saying “we believe in him.” The more relevant phrase might be something like “we recognize he has very little value right now and we might as well see what he can do on a one-year, prove-it deal.”
We agree with the previous sentiment: the Canucks’ best course of action was to get Goldobin on a one-year deal for little money. They did just that. He’s still a restricted free agent next year so there’s no fear of him having a big season and jetting.
And if he does play well and is still deemed expendable by the club, they can move him at a higher price than he was going to fetch in the offseason.
Let’s just hope he’s not the subject of too much conversation this year.
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