Sports

Valeri Nichushkin considers he signed “at a discount” with the Avalanche

When you look at the Colorado Avalanche roster last year, you quickly understand why the team won the Stanley Cup. Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Devon Toews, Darcy Kuemper: there were a lot of top players in the group.

That said, the depth of the team was also very interesting. We know the impact that a guy like Artturi Lehkonen had, but guys like Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin were very also important.

Nichushkin, for example, had 52 points in 62 regular season games and added 15 more in 20 playoff games. And while he was set to become a free agent this summer, the Avalanche secured his services with a lucrative eight-year, $49 million contract.

However, according to the words of the principal concerned, he would have decided to sign “at a discount” to stay with the Avalanche. This is what he said to a Russian media and which was later taken up by Adrian Dater.

Nichushkin, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, is a big power forward and if he keeps up his pace from last season, he’ll definitely be worth the handsome amount the Avalanche spent to keep him.

On the other hand, the fact that he claims to have signed “at a discount” is surprising. After all, before last season, he had never produced at a rate of half a point per game.

I want to believe that he exploded this year and became quite the hockey player, but were there really that many teams that wanted to sign him for an even bigger amount? Did a team want to give him $7.5M or $8M a year for seven seasons? Because if he claims to have signed “at a discount”, it is because such offers were waiting for him on the market.

At 27, Nichushkin still has several good years of hockey in his body, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that contract ended up becoming a burden in the Avalanche’s accounting books in a few years. However, if he had signed for an even higher annual salary, I dare not even imagine how much of a risk he would have represented.

We have often seen players having a big season before testing the free agent market, signing a lucrative contract and slowing down their production. The Avalanche had to try to keep him, and Nichushkin is a good bet, but he’s still a risky bet.

In the same interview, by the way (which you can read HERE using a translation tool), Nichushkin empties his heart towards Corey Perry’s behavior on the ice (he really doesn’t like him more than that), he talks about McDavid as a “God” on the ice and he talks about the rain of injuries that hit the Avalanche in the last series.

But clearly, I wonder what contract he could have signed on the market. It was a colossal deal he signed to stay in Denver, and frankly, I can’t believe he would have gotten more from another team, especially in a world where the salary cap doesn’t go up ( or, at best, very little).

Like what the big attackers capable of producing offensively (like what the CH hopes to obtain in Juraj Slafkovsky) are worth a fortune in the NHL…

A lot of

– A file settled with the Flyers.

– Logan Cooley suffered an injury at U.S. Junior Team camp today (but it appears to be minor). Recall that Conor Geekie, another first-round pick of the Coyotes in the last draft, was also injured recently.

Luke Tuch and Blake Biondi, they distinguished themselves today.

– Max Pacioretty was passing through Raw Knuckles Podcast (and he notably returned to the famous failure of Zdeno Chara against him).

– A new scout for the Blues.

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