Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin returning to KHL

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Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin is leaving the NHL to return to IHC Avtomobilist of the KHL.

The 22-year-old was drafted in 2014 in the 3rd round and signed with the club just over a year ago.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning told the Vancouver Sun last year he hoped Tryamkin would be a part of the team’s long-term plans.

“If he’s ready (for the NHL), that’s perfect. If he still needs time to develop, we’ll have to talk to him. With all Russian players, you hope that they stick it out for that development period and are part of your team long term.”

Now listed at six-foot-seven, 265 lbs, Tryamkin leaves Vancouver after recording two goals and seven assists in his first full NHL season. He played in 66 games and averaged 16:44 minutes a night, down from the 17:31 he was given in 16 games the season prior.

“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," Benning said in a release. "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.”

IHC Avtomobilist was 28-28-4 and fell four points short of a playoff spot in the KHL last season.