June 22: GM Jim Nill has confirmed that he will sign Nichushkin to a two-year deal on July 1st, and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that it will be worth around $2.95MM per season.
June 9: While the rumor of his return has been out there for a while, the Dallas Stars and Valeri Nichushkin have agreed to a new two-year contract, according to R-Sport, a Russian news outlet (translation required). The deal cannot become official until July 1 and there is no word on the specifics of the contract.
Nichushkin, the team’s 10th overall pick back in 2013, played three years in Dallas after he was drafted and put up a solid rookie season of 14 goals and 34 points. However, after suffering a hip injury in 2014-15 that cost him all but eight games that season, he had trouble returning to form and wasn’t happy with the lack of playing time the following year when he averaged just 13:56 of ATOI. He tallied just nine goals and 20 assists in 2015-16.
He returned to Russia as a restricted free agent to continue his development with CSKA Moscow, playing two years in the KHL. He tallied 27 goals and 24 assists in those two years, including a 16-goal season this past year. The winger was expected to play for Russia during the Olympics, but was one of five players banned by the IOC and was forced to watch the games instead. Nichushkin, whose contract with CSKA Moscow expired on April 30, had always intended to return to Dallas and continue his NHL career.
At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, the 23-year-old should be able to step right into Dallas’ lineup to add both scoring and physicality to the team and should give the Stars another talented young player to build around. He will be given every chance to claim a spot on the team’s second line in training camp. The Stars have finished sixth in the Central Division three of the last four years and have made the playoffs just once in that span.