When Valeri Nichushkin comes to play hockey in North America, there’s only one league he’s got his mind set on – the National Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 196-pound forward has little desire to play in the American Hockey League and even less to skate in Canada’s junior ranks, he told Future Considerations’ Roman Soloviev. “If I go to North America, I’ll go only to NHL,” Nichushkin said earlier this week at the World Under-18 Championship. “I played in KHL, why [do] I need to go to CHL or AHL?” The query is a valid one from Nichushkin, who could be better served developing in the KHL and would earn more money staying at home than either the Canadian junior ranks or in the American Hockey League. But the question surrounding one of the most talented Europeans in the draft is not if, but when he will come to North America to play. In a similar fashion to that of fellow Russian and St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, Nichushkin indicated he had no plans to come to North America until his KHL obligations are met. “Yes, for sure,” Nichushkin said. Tarasenko joined the Blues after his contract came to an end after the 2011-12 season in which he played with Sibir Novosibirsk and SKA St. Petersburg. He played another half season with St. Petersburg during the lockout before joining the Blues in January. After signing a three-year deal this summer, Nichushkin is under contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk until April 30, 2015. The length remains an indication of his commitment to both his team in league. However, Nichushkin’s line of thinking came before news leaked of a possible trade from Traktor to Dynamo, a deal expected to be announced April 30th.
NHL OR BUST FOR NICHUSHKIN
Future Considerations | May 4