Vancouver Canucks fans have been enjoying the performances of youngsters like Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat this season, but Nikolay Goldobin, a fellow first-round pick in his early twenties with high upside, has yet to make his season debut with the Canucks. Instead, the 22-year-old has been toiling away in the AHL with the Utica Comets.

Goldobin’s agent, Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov, believes it’s the right place for his client to be at this stage of his career.

“It’s better for him to play now in Utica…instead of sitting in the press box watching [Canucks] games from upstairs,” Larionov, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, told The Playbook on Sportsnet 650 Friday. “I think for a young kid like that you’ve got to be playing but at the same time I [told him], ‘Just don’t be discouraged. Go out and just do your job, put your smile on, be professional and I think it will work out for you.’”

Goldobin, a 27th-overall pick of the Sharks from 2014, was acquired by the Canucks in February in the trade that sent Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks. He scored three goals in 12 appearances with the Canucks last season but didn’t make the team out of training camp in September.