The Vancouver Canucks say they are disappointed by defenceman Nikita Tryamkin's decision to bolt the club and return to the Kontinental Hockey League.
The hulking 22-year-old Russian had two goals and seven assists to go along with 64 penalty minutes in 66 games for the Canucks in 2016-17, but will play in his home country next season after 13 months in North America.
Tryamkin told reporters through a translator last week after Vancouver limped to a 29th-place finish that he was interested in returning to the Canucks in the fall.
"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 general manager Jim Benning said in a statement Thursday. "He has a chance to be an impact player in the NHL and we offered him a two-year (contract) extension. But for now he is home and we will move ahead with building this team with other young players."
The six-foot-seven, 265-pound Tryamkin was drafted by Vancouver in the third round, 66th overall, in 2014 and signed in March 2016 after Yekaterinburg Automobilis was eliminated from the KHL playoffs. Tryamkin played four seasons with Automobilis and will rejoin to the club for the 2017-18 campaign.
Tryamkin's return to the KHL was announced on the team's website and then posted on the league's official Twitter feed. The Canucks will maintain Tryamkin's NHL rights should he decide to return to North America.