Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin needs to have a strong playoffs. It might have an impact on his contract negotiations.
The Colorado Avalanche have about eight players participating in the official unofficial practices at Pepsi Center. Winger Valeri Nichushkin is not one of them.
In fact, it’s unknown where Nuchushkin is. He posted an video on Instagram with his wife, but I’m not sure where it was taken. He is, of course, from Russia. Anyway, it’s presumed that any Avalanche players who haven’t returned yet for practices are getting ice time on their own.
Phase 3 of the NHL’s response to the COVID-19 crisis is set to start on July 10. That’s training camp. Phase 4, the actual return to play, will begin July 30.
The vast majority of players had to self-isolate without any access to ice and limited access to gym equipment. So, that’s the reason for these informal training sessions.
The Avalanche will be one of eight teams who don’t have to participate in the play-in round to qualify for the playoffs. Instead, they’ll participate in a round robin with the other three Western Conference teams that made it for playoff seeding.
They’re going to have to hit the ground running since they won’t be playing as meaningful of games as whomever their first-round opponent is. So, all the players will need to be sharp.
Nichushkin was a pleasant surprise this season. He was on a one-year show-me contract, and he showed us in the regular season. Hopefully he keeps it up when we need it most — in the playoffs.
Let’s see what he might bring.
Valeri Nichushkin in Playoffs Past
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Nichushkin’s history in the NHL isn’t linear. He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2013. He did very well his rookie season, 2013-14, then dropped off the next two seasons. He ran away to Russia for a couple years before returning to Dallas. His play was a disappointment, so the Stars bought out the second year of his two-year contract.
That’s when Colorado swooped in and offered him the show-me deal.
Nichushkin has played in 17 playoff games with the Stars. They haven’t been spectacular. In that time, he’s recorded just 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points. The lone goal came back in his rookie season. He got no points last playoffs, but he only played one game.
He did a little better with his KHL team. In 53 playoff games, he recorded 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points.
Valeri Nichushkin Playoff Predictions
Well, let’s hope Valeri Nichushkin continues to improve significantly on his Dallas numbers with the Avs. With Colorado this season, he was set to beat his career-best season, his rookie year, before the season got put on pause.
I mean, it’d be nice if he at least doubled his playoff numbers. But he saw time in the top six last season and is considered in the top 9. We’d like a little better than that I’d think.
Do I think he’ll match it? It’s so hard to say. I wish the European players would return to the US for Phase 2, but they all seem to be waiting for the next news to hit.
Well, the NHL is supposed to announce the two hub cities by the end of the week. Hopefully that spurs the Europeans to return.
I’ll be honest, of all the Europeans who returned to their home countries (presuming Nichushkin is one of them), there’s only one we truly need back — Mikko Rantanen.
Well, Nichushkin likely knows his next contract will at least in some small part depend on his performance in the playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche.