Not so long ago, there was a hue and cry about talented European players continuing their development in North America and not coming back, then, what the San Jose Sharks have opted to do with 19-year-old first-round pick Nikolay Goldobin, assigning the skilled winger to HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League instead of sending him back to the Sarnia Sting like they would have to if he came from Mississauga instead of Moscow, is actually a welcome development, in the big-picture sense..
From Curtis Pashelka:
By playing with professionals, the Sharks are hoping Goldobin's development can mirror that of Tomas Hertl, who was drafted in 2012, returned to play for Slavia Prague for the 2012-13 season, and made the Sharks roster for the 2013-14 campaign. Goldobin was a member of the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League last year.
"Nikolay had a great training camp and showed us that he is a highly-skilled player," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He is going to be an important player for this organization moving forward but at this time, in conjunction with direction from his agent Igor Larionov, we feel his development is best suited playing in a league against men, similar to the path Tomas Hertl took." (San Jose Mercury News)
The Sharks are eyeing their 2014 first-round pick, Nikolay Goldobin, who recently finished a successful season playing in Finland’s top division. The Russian forward helped Helsinki qualify for the playoffs with 21 points in 38 games and will be eligible to join the Sharks organization once Helsinki is eliminated. So basically he’s kind of a big deal.
“Goldobin is a possibility,” Joe Will, general manager of San Jose’s AHL affiliate in Worcester. “His team’s regular season just ended, and they are starting the playoffs. When he’s available will depend on that. It could be three weeks or so.”
The Worcester Sharks are also in a playoff race, so Goldobin could play in the AHL or the NHL. He impressed with four points in four preseason games for San Jose before being loaned to Finland.
“Nikolay had a great training camp and showed us that he is a highly-skilled player,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in October. “He is going to be an important player for this organization moving forward.”