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Pending free agents, Radulov and Zaitsev won’t play for Russia at Worlds

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Montreal’s Alexander Radulov and Toronto’s Nikita Zaitsev will not play for Russia at the upcoming World Championship, even though the Canadiens and Maple Leafs have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Both Radulov and Zaitsev are pending free agents, and it would be a risk to play ahead of contract negotiations.

Zaitsev just recovered from an upper-body injury, possibly a concussion. It may, in fact, have been the Leafs who refused to let him go.

Radulov, 30, can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Zaitsev, 25, will be of the restricted variety, assuming he doesn’t sign an extension first. 

Read more: Radulov denies he wants eight-year extension

They aren’t the only players skipping the Worlds due to their contract situations. Chicago’s Richard Panik and Vancouver’s Bo Horvat will not be taking the risk either.

Canucks sign ‘very skilled’ Dahlen to entry-level contract

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The Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Jonathan Dahlen to a three-year entry level contract.

Dahlen, acquired from Ottawa in the trade that sent Alex Burrows to the Senators, was the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft.

“Jonathan is a very skilled player with good hands and goal-scoring abilities,” said GM Jim Benning. “He had a terrific year playing in Sweden and we’re excited to see him at training camp as he continues to grow and develop into an NHL player.”

Dahlen, 19, scored 25 goals for Timra this season and was named the best junior player in the second-tier Allsvenskan.

His signing is a bit of good news for the Canucks, who had some disappointing news yesterday with the departure of defenseman Nikita Tryamkin to the KHL.

The Canucks’ original plan was for Dahlen to start next season in the AHL, but it seems a return to Sweden is also an option.

Canucks offered Tryamkin two-year extension, ‘disappointed’ by KHL departure

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Vancouver has responded to Nikita Tryamkin’s surprising decision to leave the team, and sign in his native Russia.

“We are disappointed Nikita chose to sign in the KHL, but also recognize from what he told us in our exit meetings that this was a family decision first,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a statement. “He has a chance to be an impact player in the NHL and we offered him a two-year extension.

“But for now he is home and we will move ahead with building this team with other young players.”

Tryamkin, 22, was taken 66th overall by the Canucks at the ’14 draft, and made his NHL debut last season.

This year started slowly — he was held out of the first few weeks to work on his conditioning — but after getting in a groove, he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dim campaign. Tryamkin scored nine points in 66 games, averaging 16:44 TOI per night while emerging as one of the team’s most physically imposing players.

At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, Tyramkin is a towering presence and losing him will undoubtedly hurt the Canucks moving forward. Per the Province, Tryamkin told a Russian media outlet he was displeased with his playing time and role in Vancouver, believing he could have seen more TOI.

The Canucks can retain Tryamkin’s NHL rights through 2022, so long as they make him a qualifying offer by June 27 (per Canucks Army).

Nikita Tryamkin has apparently left the Canucks and returned to the KHL (Updated)

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After one full season in Vancouver, it appears towering defenseman Nikita Tryamkin is headed back to Russia.

The KHL reported Thursday morning that Tryamkin has returned to Yekaterinburg Automobilist, where he played prior to joining the Canucks toward the end of the 2015-16 season.

The Canucks selected the six-foot-seven-inch, 265-pound Tryamkin in the third round of the 2014 draft.

Given his size and at times ferocious play, he was becoming a fan favorite in Vancouver while showing potential he could perhaps one day be a top-four defenseman.

He was at the end of a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $925,000. This season, he played in 66 games, scoring twice with nine points. He also averaged 16:44 of ice time, which was seventh among Canucks defensemen.

At this point, there are more questions than answers when it comes to why, exactly, Tryamkin made this decision. But it appears the ice time he received this past season — under former coach Willie Desjardins — is one of the reasons for his departure.

“Getting decent playing time. But not for 12 minutes in the game to come out. This I do not want,” said Tryamkin, according to a Google translation from The Province.

“I have experienced these feelings. When you do, I would not get pleasure from the game and (instead) just sit, look and realize that there’s nothing you can do.”

This news comes just hours after the Canucks revealed forward Brendan Gaunce will have shoulder surgery, with a potential recovery time reported to be four to six months.

‘Canes axe goalie coach, and there may be more changes in net

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Suffice to say, this was not a good year between the pipes in Carolina.

Cam Ward and Eddie Lack combined to post the NHL’s fourth-worst combined save percentage. Lack missed extensive time with concussion problems — forcing the 33-year-old Ward into a heavy workload — and upon returning, the lanky Swede was lambasted by head coach Bill Peters in a now-infamous rant.

Today, the ‘Canes made the first in what could be a series of moves to improve their goaltending.

GM Ron Francis announced the team was cutting ties with goalie coach David Marcoux. Marcoux had been with the club for the past three seasons, having joined the Carolina organization after a six-year stint in Calgary.

There have been rumblings that Lack and Marcoux never gelled, something that was emphasized when Lack spoke to The Province last season.

“It’s been an adjustment,” Lack explained. “At times, it’s been really hard. Sometimes I catch myself in games looking down to see where I am in the crease because I have no idea where I am.”

Changes in Carolina sound like they’ll go beyond the Marcoux dismissal, however.

Both Lack and Ward are heading into the final years of their respective contracts. Ward will earn $3.3 million, Lack $2.75M, and both are eligible to be exposed in the upcoming expansion draft.

Francis said the tandem didn’t work out this season, in large part because Lack’s injury issue forced the club to “lean extremely heavily” on Ward — too much, Francis said.

The GM also didn’t sound very enthusiastic about Carolina’s prospect pool. He said the club has “throw a lot of darts at the board over the last few years,” to try and find a good young goalie, but the results have been negligible. Francis added he couldn’t honestly say if they have a future No. 1 in the organization.

Luckily for the ‘Canes, this is a good summer to be goalie shopping. The UFA market could feature the likes of Ben Bishop, Ryan Miller, Brian Elliott, Steve Mason, Jonathan Bernier and Scott Darling.

Francis said the club will be in a good financial position to add players this offseason, through trades or free agency. As such, he may be given the green light to snag a goalie and deal with the ramifications later — under this scenario, he’d have until early October to figure out a potential three-headed goalie monster.