Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone recently signed a three-year entry-level contract (ELC). Rathbon signed just before fellow Canucks prospect Nikita Tryamkin signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. There have been discussions of Tryamkin returning to the Canucks line up, but Rathbone’s entry-level contract is a better option for the Canucks moving forward.
Jack Rathbone Better Option than Nikita Tryamkin
Given the flat cap situation. The Canucks — along with other NHL clubs — need to be smart with the books this offseason. According to CapFriendly, Rathbone’s three-year ELC is worth $2.775 million. Given their current financial situation, this contract is a win-win for Vancouver. If Rathbone doesn’t live up to expectations, at least his cap impact is minimal.
Pros and Cons of Jack Rathbone over Nikita Tryamkin
There are red flags surrounding Nikita Tryamkin after he ran back to Russia. Reportedly, Tryamkin’s agent didn’t want anything less than a $2 million per year deal. Plus Tryamkin would need to play in Vancouver as he would not sign if he was sent down to Utica. For starters, Rathbone’s deal is better for the Canucks books. Plus Rathbone would play in Utica to earn his spot into the lineup. However, if pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs) Chris Tanev and Oscar Fantenberg are not re-signed this offseason, Rathbone could find his place on the blue line sometime during the 2020–21 season.
A big comparison for these two players is the size difference. Tryamkin is a looming 6’7 whilst Rathbone is a shorter 5’11. Size is a massive benefit. But as Tyler Myers showed in the Minnesota Wild series, size isn’t everything. The league is becoming shorter and faster.
Rathbone is also four years younger than Tryamkin and could develop into a better defenceman with his extra years of youth. Quinn Hughes proves you can be a big factor for your team with great skating, and Rathbone has the skating ability. These extra four years on Tryamkin gives Rathbone the time to improve his weaker areas and become a more effective defender.
Nikita Tryamkin Vancouver Canucks Tenure
Tryamkin was seen as the Canucks next big thing — literally and figuratively — when the 6’7” Russian debuted against the Avalanche on March 2016. Tryamkin got a point on his debut with an assist on a Henrik Sedin goal and threw his body around well. But his defensive side lacked at times.
Fans took a liking to Tryamkin as he seemed to shine on the blue line. But let’s not forget this was an awful Canucks team in 2015–16. It didn’t take much to stand out.
General manager Jim Benning tried to re-sign Tryamkin, but the defenceman returned to Russia after he and his wife struggled to adjust to Vancouver living. Tryamkin’s now a member of the Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL.
Tryamkin’s time in Russia didn’t go as planned. After losing the captaincy and not playing well he now wants back in the Vancouver lineup. This won’t happen for another season at least. But Tryamkin’s NHL rights still belong to Vancouver, so the large Russian could return in the future.
Nikita Tryamkin could appear in the Vancouver Canucks lineup in the future, but Jack Rathbone is the better prospect to slot in next to an ever-improving Olli Juolevi. The Canucks are proving their worth with a young core and do not need another bloated contract on an average player.
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