Nikita Tryamkin joins Canucks, aims to 'be better than Zdeno Chara’

 

Team’s veterans welcome towering Russian, but caution against over-hyping rookie blue-liner

 
 
 
 
New Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin watches the team practise at UBC in Vancouver on Thursday.
 
 

New Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin watches the team practise at UBC in Vancouver on Thursday.

Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — For as long as he can remember, Nikita Tryamkin says people have been comparing him to Zdeno Chara.

“I don’t know why that is,” the towering Russian defenceman said through an interpreter Thursday, drawing laughs from the assembled media at UBC’s Father Bauer Arena.

Tryamkin joined the Vancouver Canucks amid considerable hype and instead of distancing himself from the lofty expectations, he added a log or two to the fire.

“He would like to surpass and be better than Zdeno Chara,” interpreter Maxim Vayntraub said after Tryamkin was asked who he modelled his game after. “And he would like to not be Zdeno Chara, but would like to be Nikita Tryamkin.”

Tryamkin’s size obviously has a lot to do with those Chara comparisons.

There have been conflicting reports in recent days about his height and weight. For the record, Tryamkin said he weighs 240 pounds and stands 202 centimetres (6-7½). Chara, the veteran Boston Bruin defenceman, is listed at 6-9 and 250 pounds.

Over the past few days, Tryamkin’s pending arrival created something of a major buzz on Twitter. And the 21-year-old, who skated with skills coach Glenn Carnegie and injured players Jannik Hansen and Brandon Sutter before Thursday’s practice, said that actually influenced his decision to come to Vancouver.

“The social media and all that and all the people that are excited for him to come here is the reason that he is here and he is thrilled,” said Vayntraub, who works for the New York-based agency that represents Tryamkin.

While Tryamkin does not seem fazed by the sky-high expectations that have accompanied his arrival, some of his new teammates are.

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin suggested fans need to temper expectations.

“I am a little scared about the hype around him,” Sedin said Thursday. “He has played in the KHL and has done a good job there, but it is different to play in the NHL. That is why this is the best league in the world, so people shouldn’t hype him too much.

“He is going to come over, get some games and we’ll go from there. But he’s not going to be the next Chris Pronger.”

At least not right away, Henrik added.

Tryamkin, selected 66th overall in the third round of the 2014 entry draft, played the past four seasons with Yekateinburg Automobilist of the KHL. That team is based in his hometown of Yekateinburg, an industrial city of about 350,000 residents located 1,600 kilometres east of Moscow.

He had four goals, 11 points and 71 penalty minutes in 53 games this past season.

Tryamkin signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Canucks, but will burn the first year of that contract by playing with the Canucks this season. He made it clear that it is the NHL or back to Russia for him. The American Hockey League is not in his plans.

“He said his main goal and focus is to play and remain in the NHL” his interpreter said. “If that does not work out he will go back to Russia and hone his skills there and do whatever is necessary and whatever it takes to get back and play in the NHL. The NHL is his main goal and the only thing that would take him out of his home country is the NHL.”

General manager Jim Benning has described Tryamkin as a first-pass defensive defenceman with good mobility and a heavy shot. Benning has joked that Tryamkin’s shot does not always go where it is intended.

Reminded of that comment Thursday, Tryamkin said: “I am going to try my very best to make sure that it hits that net.”

Tryamkin said he’s not worried about a big adjustment moving from the KHL to the NHL.

“I don’t think there is much of a difference,” he said. “Hockey is hockey.”

Coach Willie Desjardins isn’t so sure. Desjardins said Tryamkin — who will have his first practice with his new team Friday — will notice a big difference.

“Guys will be on him a lot quicker over here,” Desjardins said. “With the big ice (in the KHL) they don’t want to pressure out too much because they get too far away from their net. Here, guys will go at him hard. There is just going to be a difference of the pace and the pressure is going to go up.”

Desjardins said Tryamkin almost certainly won’t play Saturday against Nashville. His Canucks debut figures to come either Monday against the Winnipeg Jets or Wednesday against Colorado.

“He said he is ready to go, whether it is today, tomorrow, he’s fully ready, but he relies on the skills of the coaching staff to put him in when he’s ready to play,” Tryamkin’s interpreter said. “But as far as he’s concerned, he’s ready to go.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
New Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin watches the team practise at UBC in Vancouver on Thursday.
 

New Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin watches the team practise at UBC in Vancouver on Thursday.

Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG

 
New Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin watches the team practise at UBC in Vancouver on Thursday.
Nikita Tryamkin during the Vancouver Canucks’ summer development camp at UBC in Vancouver on July 7, 2014.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice