Prospects Rambling: Canucks sign hulking blueliner (March 11)

David McDonald

2016-03-11

Vancouver free-agent signing Nikita Tryamkin is being compared to Zdeno Chara. Photo courtesy Lockerdome

 

After months of speculation, the Vancouver Canucks made it official this week by inking hulking defenseman Nikita Tryamkin to a two-year entry level contract. Worth noting is that Tryamkin will have an “AHL out clause,” allowing him to return to the KHL next season if he is assigned to the Canucks' AHL farm team.

Tryamkin’s performance may well be the most intriguing part of the remaining Canucks' schedule. As a mobile defender with an imposing 6-7 frame and weighing in at over 229 pounds, Tryamkin is a colossus of a man. While he still remains a project, his size and booming shot can’t help but evoke images of Zdeno Chara.

If his development continues on the right track, the 21-year-old defender represents an element that has been missing on the Vancouver blueline for quite some time – a physical specimen who can play at both ends of the ice. While expectations will need to be tempered, the future could be very bright.

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Amidst the offensive explosion shown by familiar names such as Christian Dvorak (ARI), Mitch Marner (TOR) and Matthew Tkachuk (2016), the London Knights have enjoyed some excellent play from another new member this season.

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J.J. Piccinich (TOR), joining the club this season after leaving Boston University, has emerged as a solid contributor. Putting up 62 points over 61 games with a plus-22 rating, Piccinich has exceeded the expectations many had laid out for him after a disappointing 2014-2015 season at BU.

While the jury remains out whether the Toronto Maple Leafs' prospect can emerge as a scoring threat at the professional level, the bulky winger isn’t willing to concede. A pair of primary assists in this past Tuesday’s 8-2 rout of the Kitchener Rangers served as evidence.

What may be most intriguing is how Piccinich’s future will unfold in Toronto with the bevy of draft picks and offensive pro