SAN JOSE – Nikolay Goldobin trusts the people around him to do what’s best for his career.
A 2014 first round pick of the Sharks, Goldobin said he’s not disappointed he won’t be starting the season with the NHL club after showing some flashes of offensive brilliance in four preseason games, posting one goal and three assists. The Sharks announced on Monday that the youngster would go to HIFK of the Finnish Elite League for the upcoming season, rather than return to his junior team in Sarnia.
“Coaches know better, and my agent. I listen to them,” said Goldobin, who turns 19 on Tuesday.
The thought process is that Goldobin will develop more quickly while playing against men, as Tomas Hertl did in the Czech Republic before he made the jump to the NHL. Goldobin will need to get bigger and stronger, and although he played well early in the preseason, looked overmatched and jittery against the Kings last Tuesday in his final game.
“Nikolay had a great training camp and showed us that he is a highly-skilled player,” 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.”
Goldobin said: “I have to play against men so I can make the [Sharks] next year. That will help me.”
Chosen 27th overall by the Sharks at June’s NHL draft in Philadelphia, Goldobin enjoyed his first NHL training camp.
“Great coaches, guys, organization. Been a good time for me,” he said.
Goldobin’s departure leaves 24 healthy players on the Sharks’ roster. They will have to trim one more player – likely a forward – before Tuesday’s 2 p.m. deadline for the final 23-man roster.
Tyler Kennedy (upper body), James Sheppard (left knee) and Raffi Torres (right knee) will start the season as injured players. Kennedy and Sheppard returned to practice on Monday, while Torres is out long term.