The NHL career for Dallas Stars winger Valeri Nichushkin has been a rollercoaster ride full of highs and lows.
The 10th overall pick for the Stars in 2013, Nichushkin showed lots of promise during his rookie year, but injuries took a toll following that. He played in only eight games for the Stars during the 2014-15 season due to a hip injury that required surgery.
That could have been a factor in his struggles this year. Nichushkin had nine goals and 29 points in 79 games, and only one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, who lost in the second round.
Still, Stars general manager Jim Nill told SiriusXM NHL that he remains confident in Nichushkin and talked about the difficulty of coming back from surgery.
“Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that,” said Nill. “We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.”
Now keep in mind that Nichushkin is only 21-years old, and playing alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn can be beneficial as far as getting more opportunities on the ice.
“I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him,” Nill added. “We think he’s a big part of our future.”
Nichushkin will be a restricted free agent this summer now that his rookie contract is over. But it sounds like the Stars feel he will be a big piece to the puzzle in Dallas for years to come.
Written by C. James