Much has been made about Vancouver Canucks prospect Nikita Tryamkin’s ability — or lack thereof — to come over and be an effective defenceman at the NHL level; but the big friendly giant has had a good start over in Russia after not being able to sign with Vancouver.

Tryamkin scored an empty net goal in his last game that he played in and Thursday morning he was named player of the game in a tournament game.

He was getting both powerplay and penalty kill time while head coach Bill Peters used him as a second pairing defenceman in this game. Tryamkin was skating well in this game as this is one of the strengths in his game.

He scored the first goal of the game on a nice give and go that saw him cut through the defenders and rifle a wrist shot past the goaltender.

Here’s another view of the shot.

He was used in a net front presence role at times on the second powerplay unit but was also used on the right half wall as well. Tryamkin seems to have gained a lot of trust from head coach Bill Peters, who plays Tryamkin often and in all situations.

There were definitely some negatives in his game too.

Tryamkin still struggles to have fluid passing as a lot of his puck handling looks clunky and his ability to keep the play flowing looks drab.

He pinched at a bad time and then immediately went for a change as the opposing team came down and scored on an odd man break.

He needs to improve on plenty of defensive things. His physicality was lacking and for a big man he needs to be better in that aspect of the game. His stick looked slow in the defensive zone and that’s a big negative as he should be able to defend at a high level with his pure size and reach.

Most of the things I liked from Tryamkin came in the offensive zone.

There were a lot of shot attempts from him and he almost tied the game up late when he ripped a slap shot just wide from the slot.

There were a lot of little things to like and a lot of little things to shake your head at in his game. The potential is still there for Tryamkin and though he isn’t playing like an NHLer in these early games it is good to see him taking home the player of the game award in any game.

He even had a very big friendly giant type hit in front of the opposition’s net.

We will keep an eye on Tryamkin as the season progresses, but he’s off to a good start so far, scoring goals and playing a lot of minutes under Bill Peters. With Alex Edler and Jordie Benn’s contracts coming off the books for the 2021-22 season — this year is the time for Tryamkin to finally prove that he is ready to make the jump back to the NHL.

He is playing for a crappy human NHL coach in Bill Peters and will be given ample opportunity to play high minutes every game. He looked to be skating well on Thursday and that has always been a positive in the big man’s game. I need to see some improvement with his stick in the defensive zone and ability to make short easy passes before I would even consider calling him an NHL prospect.

But the KHL year is just beginning and we are not even into regular season action. We will see how Tryamkin progresses and we’ll have you covered every step of the way.