The loudest cheer in Canucks Nation a year ago came when general manager Jim Benning leveraged outgoing veteran Jannik Hansen to acquire 2014 first-rounder Nikolay Goldobin from the San Jose Sharks. The second-loudest cheer came from the Russian, who was eager for a new start and a better chance to play in the National Hockey League. But 12 months later, after just six points in 18 games for the Canucks in a season spent mostly in the minors, Goldobin is no longer one of the brightest baubles on the development tree. He was beaten out of an NHL roster spot last fall by rookie Brock Boeser and third-year pro Jake Virtanen. When recalled from the Utica Comets, Goldobin has been in and out of coach Travis Green’s lineup. And a line of talented, even younger forward prospects, is quietly queueing up behind the 22-year-old winger. U.S. college star Adam Gaudette will probably play for the Canucks in March, and fifth-overall draft pick Elias Pettersson has a good chance to make the team next fall, as does robust second-rounder Kole Lind. As their rebuild progresses, the Canucks aren’t becoming easier for Goldobin to make. The competition is getting harder. Goldobin’s advantage is that he is here already, and those other guys aren’t.
Nikolay Goldobin’s future with the Canucks anything but certain
Sportsnet | Feb 25