Colorado Avalanche Sign Valeri Nichushkin to a One-Year Deal

Valeri Nichushkin skates with the puck
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 10: Valeri Nichushkin #43 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Dallas Stars at Wells Fargo Center on January 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche have signed Valeri Nichushkin to a one-year, $850,000 contract for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

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.

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim coaches a local high school team in New Jersey. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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