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Goldobin heads to KHL, moves on from Canucks, NHL

Goldobin leaves Canucks signs in KHL

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 15: Nikolay Goldobin #77 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Arena March 15, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n

NHLI via Getty Images

Nikolay Goldobin signed with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, ending his time in the Canucks organization. Naturally, this also ends his time in the NHL. At least for now.

Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko first reported that Goldobin signed a two-year deal with CSKA. TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal caught up with Goldobin, 24, who explained the move.

“The Canucks did not want to sign me,” Goldobin told Dhaliwal. “I was disappointed how it turned out in VAN but I am happy to sign in KHL and will try (in the) NHL again in two years.”

Ultimately, it seems like Goldobin couldn’t quite earn the trust of the Canucks, making his departure to the KHL easy to understand.

After generating 27 points in 63 games during the 2018-19 season, Goldobin appeared in a single NHL contest this season.

Otherwise, he spent his season with the AHL’s Utica Comets. Much like in 2017-18 (31 points in 30 games), Goldobin played well in the AHL, generating 50 points in 51 contests for the Comets.

While Goldobin is far from a world-beater, it’s a touch surprising that he couldn’t find a spot somewhere in the Canucks lineup. Failing that, you wonder if the Canucks might have been better off trading him for something.

One wonders if we’ll hear about more Goldobin-like tweeners leaving (or debuting in) the NHL soon.

Goldobin joins Slepyshev in KHL; quick thoughts on his Canucks departure

The Canucks acquired Goldobin from the Sharks during the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline. Jannik Hansen went the other way to San Jose, failing to make much of an impact during the rest of 2016-17. Hansen then played one more season with the Sharks in 2017-18. He wrapped his hockey career with (wait for it) CSKA in 2018-19.

Speaking (again) of CSKA, the KHL team also signed Anton Slepyshev. Slepyshev’s coffee barely got cold at the NHL level before things fell apart during the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season. So Goldobin can commiserate with Slepyshev, if nothing else.

Ken Holland told the Edmonton Sun’s Jim Matheson that there was an opportunity for Slepyshev, but the forward would’ve made less (at least in the short term) than Slepyshev will earn in the KHL.

“I met with Slep at a coffee shop in Russia just before Christmas and talking to him he thought he could play on a third line, and I felt for sure he could be a bottom-six forward,” Holland said. “I think he had a point in 20 straight games over there and the team obviously wanted to keep him. I feel very comfortable with the offer I made that it was fair based on where he was going to play in the NHL.”

Holland paints kind of a funny picture there, huh?

Anyway, it’s sometimes a shame to see things not work out for players like Goldobin and Slepyshev in the NHL. At least they have what seems to be an acceptable alternative in the KHL, though.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.