After a two-year hiatus in the KHL, Valeri Nichushkin has agreed to return to the NHL, officially signing a two-year deal worth $2.95 million per season.
The Stars get: a highly-touted prospect and a former 10th overall draft pick (2013) who had a great rookie season (34 points) but then suffered a terrible injury in 2014 and struggled to get ice time upon his return in 2015-16. All that led to his decision to return to the KHL. Playing for a strong CSKA Moscow, he found a steady role on the second line and posted 51 points in 86 games combined over two seasons. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers and as a bigger player expectations in the NHL should be tempered. He is still several years away from seeing his true potential.
Fantasy Players impacted: At the time of publishing this breakdown, the Dallas Stars were still officially in the mix for a John Tavares signing, although most pundits had them as underdogs. However, were he to sign it would drastically impact not only Nichushkin’s outlook – but the outlook of the entire roster. For now, we will assume that Tavares will not sign here, and take a look at the Dallas Depth chart:
Gemel Smith Jason Dickinson
It’s early in FA season yet, but the top six is pretty weak and unless it gets significantly stronger, Nichushkin will fail to reach the 50-point mark. He’s not yet good enough to do it on his own, nor is he good enough to bring up the production level of his linemates. He’ll take PP time away from Jason Spezza and will take ice time away from Brett Ritchie. Still, the 40-45 points that Nichushkin gets this season will beat the zero points that he got last season so obviously Nichushkin owners score here.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Jason Spezza