Fantasy Impact: Colorado Avalanche Sign Valeri Nichushkin



Fantasy Impact: The Colorado Avalanche have signed free agent winger Valeri Nichushkin to a one-year deal worth $850,000 per Stephen Whyno.


Colorado gets: a big player with a lot of upside, but at the age of 24 has shown very little of it.Criticized for being soft and not using his 6-4, 210-pound frame, Nichushkin was never given much of an opportunity to get going upon his return to Dallas. Not like he did prior to going to the KHL. Was he being punished? His defense is decent and considering his ice time, he is clearly trying to throw more bodychecks. But since seeing 14.58 of ice time per game as a rookie and getting 34 points, Nichushkin hasn't averaged 14 minutes per game in two NHL seasons since (last year was 11:55). During his two years with CSKA Moscow, Nichushkin was a solid two-way second-line winger.


Fantasy Players Impacted: Unless Nichushkin flourishes in his new environment, two players get impacted here: Tyson Jost and Colin Wilson. With Jost, it's a short-term impact and frankly the odds are pretty slim. Jost is sitting at 159 career NHL games and when he plays in game number 160 he becomes eligible for waivers. so the Avs 'could' – and I seriously stress that word here and honestly consider it a long shot – send Jost to the AHL to start the season for a few weeks and give Nichushkin a look as a third-line regular. If he pans out, then he could move up the lineup and start impacting the other players (such as Joonas Donskoi). Other than somebody getting injured, this is really the only way Nichushkin gets anything remotely resembling a fair shot here. From a fancy stats standpoint, with limited ice time, mostly defensive zone starts and lesser linemates, he held his own. He just couldn't score. He was snakebitten. He had zero goals! And his 5on5 S% was 5.79%, a career low and an indicator of bad puck luck.


As for Wilson, well this is how I have the first three lines set up in the Fantasy Guide (you can pick up the 14th annual, critically acclaimed Guide here):


G. Landeskog      N. MacKinnon    Mikko Rantanen 

Andre Burakovsky  Nazem Kadri   Joonas Donskoi 

Tyson Jost       J.T. Compher     Colin Wilson


As you can see – no room. So everyone healthy and signed means that Nichushkin only sneaks in here at the expense of Wilson, who holds little in the way of fantasy value anyway. The Avs made a real good cheap signing here because it provides insurance. Rantanen is not signed yet, and Wilson gets injured a lot. As does