Dallas GM Jim Nill met with the media on Friday following the Jamie Benn extension. While most of the talk naturally was focused on the new contract, Nill was also asked about current restricted free agent Valeri Nichushkin and the status of their contract talks. Nill didn’t provide much of an update other than to say both sides are going through the process but had this to say when asked if he was concerned that Nichushkin could look for a deal in the KHL instead; quote courtesy of Mike Heika of the Dallas News:
“No, I don’t think so. Val’s over here training and I don’t think there’s that issue. Val wants to be in the NHL and he wants to have a good year this year, so I don’t think that’s possible.”
Nichushkin struggled in his second full NHL season after missing most of 2014-15 with a hip injury. The 2013 first round pick had nine goals and 20 assists with the Stars last season while averaging 13:56 per game. He was less of a factor in the postseason, collecting just a single assist in ten games. He received a qualifying offer of $874K last month but that offer expired on Friday.
Other news and notes from the Central Division:
- Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher spoke with Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune and provided a small update on their free agent situation as well as several top prospects at their development camp. On the free agent side, Fletcher noted that assistant GM Brent Flahr is handling talks with RFA defenseman Mathew Dumba and that he doesn’t anticipate any problems getting a deal done. Fletcher also acknowledged that the team is still talking with some of the free agents left on the market but that they’re in no hurry to add anyone right now. Russo notes that Matt Cullen has some interest in signing with the Wild. The 39 year old spent three seasons with Minnesota from 2010-11 to 2012-13.
- Former NHL defenseman Wade Redden is beginning his post-hockey career as the assistant director of player development for Nashville. As Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press writes, there’s already a connection to his playing days in one of the players he’s mentoring. Rem Pitlick was a third round pick of the Predators in last month’s draft and is the son of former NHL’er Lance Pitlick, Redden’s roommate and blueline partner in the mid-to-late 1990’s.