In his report card, I said that the Stars needed to keep Valeri Nichushkin in Dallas for a long time to come. And I haven’t changed my mind (like I ever would).
Valeri Nichushkin defined the words “breakout season” in his first NHL season at the age of 18/19. In his rookie year, the Russian managed to put up tremendous numbers, ending his first pro season with 14 goals and 20 assists accounted for. He truly made the most of his play, which caught Lindy Ruff’s eye and eventually landed Val on the top line along with the dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. These numbers are remarkable for a 19 year old rookie, especially one who wasn’t even considered to be a top 10 pick in the draft or play his first drafted season in the NHL!
Valeri Nichushkin also found a way to lend a helping hand in the postseason. Throughout his postseason premiere, he ended up skating in all 6 of their games and producing 1 goal and 1 assist. I can only begin to imagine how stupid the 9 teams who were plotted before the Stars in the 2013 Entry Draft feel after seeing what Nichushkin did in his FIRST year in the majors.
Nichushkin still has 2 years left on his contract and plays out as one of the Stars’ biggest steals. They could look to keep him, which would mean enduring a forward who’s good at playing the 2-way game and has a gigantic frame which makes for a big presence on the ice, though he could learn to use it a little more often on the physical side. He does commit turnovers, but those are expected with a rookie and besides that, he is A-OK. He will be a key factor and one of the Stars’ top young prodigies in the years to come. The Stars could also look to trade him, using him as a potential sweetener to pick up a big name defenseman or 2nd line center. But this most likely won’t even come up, Val’s future in Dallas is pretty secure.
But enough with my yammering, time for YOU to talk. VOTE below on how you feel the Stars should act regarding Valeri Nichushkin: