— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) August 19, 2019
Avalanche Sign Valeri Nichushkin
Nichushkin had played in four NHL season since being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars. In 223 career NHL regular-season games, NNichushkin has recorded 74 points (23 goals and 51 assists). During the 2018-19 season with the Stars, Nichushkin only recorded 10 points, all assists, in 57 games. In his career, he has three points (one goal and two assists) in 17 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Prior to returning to the NHL last season with the Stars, he spent two years in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. During the 2016-17 season, Nichushkin was named to the KHL All-Star Game after recording 24 points (11 goals and 13 assists) in 36 regular-season games. He followed it up the following year by recording 27 points (16 goals and 11 assists) in 50 games. Nichushkin led the team with seven game-winning goals, including two goals in overtime.
What Does This All Mean
Nichushkin a highly touted prospect coming out of Russia during the 2013 NHL Draft. One of the reasons why the Stars took him at 10 in 2013 was because of his size. Yet, with the bleak career numbers thus far, Nichushkin clearly has much more to prove. The Stars were so displeased with the lackluster start to his career, that they bought out Nichushkin’s contract on June 29.
Yet, the Avalanche clearly still have hope. “Valeri is a big, young winger who adds depth to our roster and brings competition to our training camp,” said Colorado general manager Joe Sakic. “He brings NHL experience to our team and we are excited to have him with our organization.”
The Avalanhe have a lot depth up front even after the team traded Alexander Kerfoot to Toronto as part of the Tyson Barrie deal. Having a player like Nichushkin come in will push players already there. Many of whom thought they had clear jobs for next season. Now they face the fear of competition from an NHL veteran.
For Nichushkin, he gets a change of scenery to find his game. For the Avalanche, they get a player on a low-risk contract with the potential for a major reward.