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.”