Nikolay Goldobin to leave Canucks, join KHL team

It appears Nikolay Goldobin’s time in Vancouver is finally coming to an end. 

Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko reported on Saturday that the winger is set to leave the Canucks to return to his native Russia, signing with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League. 

Goldobin was acquired by Vancouver at the 2017 trade deadline and appeared in 114 games for the team over the past four seasons. However, his playing time dropped dramatically starting at the end of last year after he failed to win over his coach, Travis Green. After regularly being a healthy scratch towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign, he played just once in the NHL this season against Pittsburgh in November. 

He did end up putting together a very solid season in the American Hockey League this year, with 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) in 51 games for the Utica Comets. 

The Russian’s best stretch with the Canucks came early last season when he was put on the same line as Elias Pettersson. Playing alongside the talented young Swede, Goldobin tallied 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) over the first half of the year before falling out with Green and posting just four points (two goals, two assists) the rest of the way. 

He became something of a cult hero during his time in Vancouver due to his everpresent smile and positive attitude in interviews, but ultimately it seemed a matter of time before he left the team. 

According to TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal, he did leave the door open for a return to the NHL in the future.

“The Canucks did not want to sign me,” he said. “I was disappointed how it turned out in Vancouver but I am happy to sign in the KHL and will try NHL again in 2 years.”

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