Who Is Valeri Nichushkin?

Dobber Sports



Jonathan Briggins looks at a top prospect for the 2013 Draft.

If you asked a casual hockey fan who the top rated players for the 2013 NHL entry draft are, chances are the most frequent answers would be Portland Winterhawks D-man Seth Jones and the Halifax Mooseheads forward duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Take a peak at International Scouting Services March rankings and you'll see Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin at number two, his second month in a row that he has been directly behind Jones.


Canadians, especially Carolina Hurricanes prospect defenseman Ryan Murphy have probably tried hard to block the name Nichushkin from their collective memories. He blew past Murphy to score the overtime goal in the bronze medal game against Canada in the 2013 World Juniors. In that same tournament, Nichushkin was suspended one game for driving Calgary Flames draft pick Tyler Wotherspoon's face into the boards and glass.


Size and strength


Nichushkin is a big guy, with a height of 6'4" and weighing somewhere between 192 and 202 pounds. (ISS has him listed at 202, the KHL has him listed at 192). This season he has progressed through three tiers of Russian hockey, playing for KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk, its second level affiliate Chelmet Chelyabinsk of the VHL and major junior team Belye Medvedi.


Nichushkin has scouts gushing because of his ability to dominate games with his size and strong skating. The bronze-winning goal is a great example of him using his size, speed and strength to get the job done.


Moving up ISS rankings<