Valeri Nichushkin Scouting Reports
Date of birth: 03/04/1994
Height: 6′ 4″
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round, 10th overall in 2013 by Dallas
Year in Review: Nichushkin bounced around between the MHL (junior), the VHL (minors), and the KHL, but he stayed in the KHL for the second half. He really shone in the KHL playoffs, getting a regular third line shift as Traktor went to the finals.
The Good: Nichushkin’s physical abilities are tremendous. He is a big, strong winger with truly elite skating ability. His ability to put defensemen on their heels is second to none, as his first few steps are explosive. Opponents cannot keep him to the outside either, as he can power to the net easily. Nichushkin is also a highly skilled player who can dangle through defenders while making a lot of plays.
The Bad: Nichushkin can try to do too much on his own at times. He displays good vision, but the playmaking area of his game is inconsistent.
Projection: He could be an All-Star power winger.
The biggest wildcard from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Nichushkin is also one of the most mature and NHL-ready prospects from this draft. He has a great blend of size, skill and potential all over the ice. He is a possession player who can fend off opponents and win space well but can also dazzle with his puck skills. He could be a major steal and a great reason to get excited for those close to the Stars.
July 2013 - The Stars announced they have signed Nichushkin to a three-year entry level contract valid through 2015-16. Nichushkin was selected 10th overall after appearing in 18 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) where he recorded six points (four goals, two assists) and a plus-6 rating in 2013. He’s a power-forward with magnificent hands, NHL-ready size, and infinite long-term potential. Nichushkin has opted out of his contract with the KHL and is expected to spend the entire 2013-14 season in the NHL with the Stars. Clayton Bailey
Fantasy Outlook: A- Nichushkin owns promising offensive skills and has a good motor which could equate to some hard-working penalty minutes in fantasy leagues. He will be among the more valuable forwards from the 2013 draft class.
Profile by Luke Anthony
Strengths: Nichushkin has elite offensive talent. He is an extremely skilled puck handler with a very good shot. Nichushkin has great size, protects the puck very well, and drives hard to the net. He has explosive speed/acceleration and the ability to blow past defenders. He is also fairly strong for his age.
Weaknesses: Nichushkin has been inconsistent at times and can try to do too much by himself. That being said, both of these should improve with age.
General: Nichushkin is an elite prospect that should be an offensive star in the NHL for years. He’s still fairly raw, so expectations for the season should be kept reasonable.
2012-13 Season: Nichushkin was really all over the place last year. He started the season in Russia playing junior and in the minors, then earned a call up to the KHL and played 18 regular season games for Traktor Chelyabinsk. He played 25 KHL playoff games before Traktor was eliminated in the finals. Despite limited ice time, he was able to score 10 goals in a total of 43 KHL games. Nichushkin made Russia’s U-20 World Junior team as a 17 year old. However, he was roughly average in the tournament. Nichushkin showed flashes of brilliance and elite skill level, but was inconsistent. It’s important to note that he was one of the younger players in the tournament, however it’s still difficult to argue that he met the high expectations many had set for him. He scored a highlight reel overtime goal against the star-studded Canadian team to win the bronze medal game. Closing in on June 30th, the consensus was Nichushkin would drop no lower than 5th overall. Despite the high talent level, he fell to the Dallas Stars at the 10th pick due to a deep draft and the “Russian” factor. The Stars were more than happy to get Nichushkin. General Manager Jim Nill said after the draft that he was the highest caliber player Dallas had drafted since they selected Mike Modano 1st overall in 1988.
2013-14 Season: Nichushkin opted to leave Russia to play in the NHL as an 18 year old. He played for the Dallas stars in the annual Traverse City prospect tournament hosted by the Detroit Red Wings and scored 3 goals in 4 games. In the preseason, he managed 3 goals in 6 games. However, his NHL start has been a little rough. Through his first 7 games, Nichushkin has 1 point and only 3 shots on goal. It should be expected that he will have his ups and downs this season, as previously stated he is still fairly raw.