The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has re-signed the forward Valery Nikhushkin on an eight-year contract until the 2029/30 season.
Nichushkin, 27, had career bests in goals (25), assists (27), points (52) and goal-winning (5) in 2021-22. He finished sixth on the team in goals and third in game winners while moving up the shorthanded club (2). Nichuchskin averaged a career-high 19:02 ice time per night and was +21 for the season, helping Colorado to a 44-12-6 with him in the lineup. Having recorded just three combined multi-goal games in his previous six seasons, Nichushkin had five multi-goal appearances in 2021-22. He also had a seven-game point streak from April 9-22, the longest of his career.
In the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nichushkin recorded career bests with nine goals, six assists and 15 points, helping the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He ranked third among the Avalanche skaters in goals, fifth in points, and second for his two game-winning markers. Nichushkin averaged 20:16 ice time per game in the postseason, ranking fifth on the team and third among Colorado forwards. He stepped up the Avs with four goals in the Stanley Cup Finals and finished third with six points.
Since signing from Colorado as a free agent on August 19, 2019, Nichushkin has amassed a 100 point (48g/52a) and a +56 rating, ranking third among all Avalanche forwards during that span. In his three seasons with Colorado, Nichushkin’s four shorthanded records were the most by an Avalanche player, while his 238 hits earned him second place (Gabriel Landeskog, 261) among team forwards.
“Signing Val to a long-term contract was a top priority for us this offseason as he would have been one of the most sought-after forwards in the open market,” said Joe Sakic, Avalanche’s president of hockey operations. “Val is a big, strong, fast, tenacious winger who is relentless on the puck. He can play in the front row with our top guys, you can move him up and down the line-up. He plays power play, penalty shootouts, all situations where you need him. He also works hard off the ice in the gym and is a humble person and a great teammate. He’s such an important player in our lineup and a big reason we won the Stanley Cup.
The Chelyabinsk native, Russia, appeared in 55 of the Avalanche’s 56 games in the shortened 2020-21 season, the team’s second-most competitions, and appeared in the team’s fourth-most games (182 draws) since joining the team’s 2019-2019 campaign 20 During his first season in an Avalanche sweater, Nichushkin finished his career with a +26 plus/minus top rating, earning him second place in the Avalanche and eighth place in the NHL. Only three NHL forwards posted a higher plus-minus rating: Artemi Panarin (+36), Anthony Cirelli, and Brayden Point (both +28). Nikita Kucherov connected Nichushkin with +26.
Selected by the Dallas Stars in the first round (10th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Nichushkin has 174 points (71g/103a) in 405 NHL regular-season career contests and 24 points (13g/11a) in 62 postseason games collected .
Nichushkin has also appeared in five career competitions (0g/4a) with Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, and played 104 career KHL games (31g/26a) in Russia with Traktor Chelyabinsk and CSKA Moscow. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right winger has 23 points (10 g/13 a) in 53 career KHL postseason contests.
Nichushkin spent two seasons as a skater for CSKA Moscow from 2016-2018 and was named to the 2016-2017 KHL All-Star Game after scoring 24 points (11g/13a) in 36 regular-season games. He scored 27 points (16g/11a) in 50 games in 2017/18 and led the team with seven winners, two of which came in overtime.
Internationally, Nichushkin (pronounced nih-CHOOSH-kihn) won a bronze medal with Team Russia at the 2017 IIHF World Championships and represented his country at the 2014 Winter Olympics. He also won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships and competed in the World Junior A Challenge 2011, the World U17 Hockey Challenge 2012 and the IIHF U18 World Championships 2012 and 2013.