20 Prospects in 20 Days: Valeri Nichushkin


Source: Hockey.dobbersports.com

With only 12 days left until the first round of the NHL Draft in New Jersey, The PensNation will be breaking down a prospect each day until June 30th. Today, we will take a closer look at right wing Valeri Nichushkin.


Source: En.khl.ru

Right Wing Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk 2 (RUS), 18 years old

Height: 6’3″, Weight:  196 pounds, Shoots: Left


NHL Central Scouting: 2nd among International skaters
TSN: 5th among all players

2012-13 Stats: 41 games played, 15 goals, 8 assists, 23 points, +16


(AP Photo/Yuri Kuzmin, KHL)

THE SCOOP: Another great hockey player from Russia is expected to come over to North America to play in the NHL very soon. The bar has been set very high for Valeri Nichushkin since the past two Hart trophy winners were fellow Russian forwards Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin. In addition, Russian forward Nail Yakupov was drafted first overall in last year’s draft. It will be tough to match up to Malkin and Ovechkin, but there is no doubt that Nichushkin could develop into an elite winger in the NHL. He brings in a complete package of offense as his size and skill make him a great player. Opposing players will have a tough time bringing down the 6’3″ right wing when he comes to the net. He definitely is a playmaker with his excellent vision, but his wrist shot could use some polishing. His shot is not bad, but he will need to be more accurate and quicker with his shot in the NHL. Nichushkin played in juniors and the KHL this past season, which worried some NHL teams at first since he had been signed for next season. However, he has said that he plans on coming to North America, which will make his draft stock higher. Corey Pronman had this to say about Nichushkin: “Nichushkin is an impressive power forward who has a ton of natural gifts. He could be a potential star, if not an elite power winger in the NHL. His best skill is his skating ability, as he is a true plus-plus skater that defensemen need to respect when he’s barreling down the wing. If a gap gets too tight, Nichushkin will likely be behind the defender in no time. He is also a strong, 6’4” pillar who loves to drive to the net. Combining that with his speed and skill, he draws a lot of penalties. Nichushkin’s north-south game is his strength, but he has a high level of ability with the puck, with the capability to make players miss. He can make plays to his teammates, and he has good offensive instincts, although his hockey sense is an area of division among scouts. Some question his vision, feeling he can be a little selfish. Others think his hockey sense is above average. He has the ability to skate through an entire team, so it cannot be considered surprising that he tries to do a lot. One area of concern: he needs to improve his defensive play.” Two teams that may have interest in Nichushkin are the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers. Regardless of who drafts him, you can bet that Nichushkin will play in the NHL next season.


Previously Seen in “20 Prospects in 20 Days”:

June 10, 2013: Bo Horvat
June 11, 2013: Aleksander Barkov
June 12, 2013: Zachary Fucale
June 13, 2013: Nikita Zadorov
June 14, 2013: Max Domi
June 15, 2013: Anthony Mantha
June 16, 2013: Hunter Shinkaruk
June 17, 2013: Elias Lindholm

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