NHL Rumors: 3 Possible Destinations for Valeri Nichushkin


The Colorado Avalanche and Valeri Nichushkin are currently awaiting for their Stanley Cup Final opponents as they just completed a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night to advance. With that being said, Nichushkin is set to become a UFA at the end of the Cup Finals, which means he could be leaving the team where he's found the most success.

This past season, the Russian winger had a career year playing in the Avalanche's top six for much of the year. Having already proven himself as a strong defensive forward, he has only upped his value by scoring 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games for the Avalanche. He has also been a very key contributor in the team's run to the Finals scoring five goals and nine points in 14 playoff games. 

With Nichushkin's new found offensive game, he could be looking at an annual salary above $5 million on a long-term deal. However, given that he has produced so highly only for one season, it may lead teams to be reluctant to give up that money on the 27-year old. Especially since he's been playing with stars like Nathan MacKinnon or Nazem Kadri to get those point totals. Nonetheless, he will be a name that will have a lot of interest.

Here are three destinations that could seriously be in play for his services come free agency time.

Colorado Avalanche 

With Nichushkin developing as a great two-way forward over his time with the Avs, it is hard to imagine both sides parting ways. This especially the case if they end up winning the Stanley Cup in the next couple weeks. With that being said, Nichushkin could take a team friendly deal to stay in Colorado so that they can afford all the pieces they need going forward, which includes starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper who will be a UFA as well.

However, due to his recent jump in production he may have priced himself out of Colorado. Nonetheless, the Avalanche are likely still the favorite to retain Nichushkin's services with the state of the team going forward as a Cup favorite.

There should be an expectation that the Avalanche will at least be very active in trying to keep the forward. Whether or not it actually works out remains to be seen.

Montreal Canadiens 

One team that would be a great fit for Nichushkin is the Montreal Canadiens. With the Habs looking for a third player to complement their top line of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Nichushkin just may be the best option on the market to do so. 

To start, Nichushkin is a big body standing at 6'4 210 LBS, which makes him hard to take off the puck and can easily get the puck in the corner. Then there is the factor that he was very responsible defensively as that is something the line needs down the other wing to make up for Caufield defensive deficiencies. With his 25 goals, he proved he can be a good option to put the puck in the net when called upon. Being 27 years old, he isn't the youngest player but he definitely has the time to follow with the Canadiens rebuild. 

With all these factors, it seems like he fits the role of the guy the team is looking for in a player alongside Suzuki-Caufield. If the Habs do decide to pursue Nichushkin as they should, expect the contract to be around the four year- $4.5M AAV range. The two sides could be an interesting match if he does in fact leave Colorado.

Boston Bruins

While this one may be a little bit more out there than the other two, but Nichushkin to the Bruins could make sense. For example, the team is in a weird position where it looks like a rebuild is imminent, but at the same time they still have a an aging core that will be looking to take one last shot at the Cup. With that being said, a player like Nichushkin who can slide up and down the lineup could make sense for the Bruins. His two-way game could be a great asset if the team does in fact move away from David Pastrnak this summer.

While he may not have the flashiest game, he does own a good shot and if he is put in the right situation like he was this past season, could score upwards of 25 goals and 50 points again. All this while being responsible in his own end. 

If the Bruins do go through a rebuild, he could serve a potential mentor for younger players with his complete game. Much like the Canadiens, the Bruins could potentially offer Nichushkin a four-year contract in the 4.5 AAV range.

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