According to recent reports, the Dallas Stars and Valeri Nichushkin have a new deal in place. The signing cannot take place until July 1, but it’s a big step in the right direction to bringing him back to America. How should this new deal look?
The Dallas Stars are already hard at work with their offseason planning. They have a new head coach, are working on compiling a staff of assistants, and will host the NHL Draft in two weeks.
It’s yet another busy summer for the NHL team in Texas. But not just because of all the happenings going on. It also has to do with the fact that the Stars have to take another big swing in building their team the “right” way.
They looked to have finally done it in the 2017 offseason after several key acquisitions. But, as we saw in the 2017-18 season, there was still something off. What was it?
Was it the missing pieces? Or was it a wrong mindset or direction that the team owned? Either way, Dallas went from a team with high hopes and potential to a team in desperate need of more answers.
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And where do they get those answers? Well, it can vary. But it looks as though one of them will be coming out of Russia and the KHL.
According to a report out of Russia yesterday, Valeri Nichushkin and the Dallas Stars have a two-year deal lined up that both sides have agreed upon. There were no details on salary, but there seems to be an agreement in place. That’s good news.
One of the Stars’ most pressing needs during last season’s nosedive and throughout the year overall was depth scoring. For too much of last year, Dallas attempted to rely solely on their top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. And while the three crafted one of the best top lines in hockey, it wasn’t enough.
The bottom nine for the Stars had trouble getting the job done and finding scoring opportunities. Signing depth forwards and building a competent second line are near the top of the Stars’ priorities going into the summer.
And that’s where Nichushkin comes in. The 23-year-old Russian can help with depth.
The former first-round pick served as a depth forward for much of his time in Dallas before moving back home to play in the KHL. He has impressive size and can create space with his reach, thus creating offensive opportunities for him and his line.
This supposed contract cannot be signed officially until July 1 when free agency opens considering Nichushkin is technically a free agent. But the agreement is a step in the right direction. A two-year deal is a bridge contract, which will give Nichushkin two seasons to prove his worth and potentially earn a longer-term deal.
Bringing back Big Val will benefit the Stars’ offense overall, primarily in their bottom six. He’s older, wiser, and hopefully more skilled than when he left. The KHL gave him a new opportunity and let him see new competition.
But now he’s reportedly locked in on coming back to the Lone Star State. That is good news all around.