The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has re-signed forward Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract through the 2029-30 season.
Nichushkin, 27, set career highs in goals (25), assists (27), points (52) and game-winning goals (5) in 2021-22. He ranked sixth on the team in goals and tied for third in game winners while pacing the club in shorthanded tallies (2). Nichuchskin averaged a career-high 19:02 of ice time per night and was +21 for the season, helping Colorado to a 44-12-6 with him in the lineup. After recording just three multi-goal games in his previous six seasons combined, Nichushkin had five multi-goal performances 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 highs with nine goals, six assists and 15 points, helping the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He ranked third among Avalanche skaters in goals, tied for fifth in points and his two game-winning markers were tied for second. Nichushkin averaged 20:16 of ice time per game in the postseason, ranking fifth on the team and third among Colorado forwards. He paced the Avs with four goals in the Stanley Cup Final and was tied for third with six points.
Since being signed by Colorado as a free agent on Aug. 19, 2019, Nichushkin has recorded 100 points (48g/52a) and a +56 rating, which ranks third among all Avalanche forwards over that span. In his three seasons with Colorado, Nichushkin’s four shorthanded tallies are the most by an Avalanche player, while his 238 hits rank second (Gabriel Landeskog, 261) among team forwards.
“Signing Val to a long-term deal was a top priority for us this offseason, as he would have been one of the most sought-after forwards on the open market,” said Avalanche President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic. “Val is a big, strong, fast, tenacious winger who is relentless on the puck. He can play on the first line with our top guys, you can move him up and down the lineup. He plays power play, penalty kill, any situation you need him to. He works hard off the ice as well in the gym and is a humble person and great teammate. He is such an important player in our lineup and a huge reason why we won the Stanley Cup.”
The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native appeared in 55 of the Avalanche’s 56 games of the shortened 2020-21 season, the second-most contests on the team, and has appeared in the fourth-most games (182-tied) since joining the team ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. During his first season an Avalanche sweater, Nichushkin finished with a career-best +26 plus/minus rating, which ranked second on the Avalanche and tied for eighth 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 tied Nichushkin at +26.
Selected by the Dallas Stars in the first round (10th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Nichushkin has collected 174 points (71g/103a) in 405 career NHL regular-season contests and 24 points (13g/11a) in 62 overall postseason outings.
Nichushkin has also appeared in five career contests (0g/4a) with Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, and has dressed in 104 career KHL games (31g/26a) in Russia with Traktor Chelyabinsk and CSKA Moscow. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right wing has registered 23 points (10g/13a) in 53 career KHL postseason contests.
Nichushkin spent two seasons skating for CSKA Moscow from 2016-18 and was named to the KHL All-Star Game in 2016-17 after producing 24 points (11g/13a) in 36 regular-season outings. He recorded 27 points (16g/11a) in 50 games in 2017-18 while also leading the team with seven game-winning goals, two of which were in overtime.
Internationally, Nichushkin (pronounced nih-CHOOSH-kihn) won a bronze medal with Team Russia at the 2017 IIHF World Championship and represented his country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He also won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and competed at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2012 and 2013 IIHF U18 World Championships.