Considered one of the top birth years in Russian hockey, the 1995 class has seen several of the top players leave Russia to play Major Junior Hockey in North America, a fact that is reflected in this list of 2013 prospects. Most of the top 1995 players (like Nikita Zadorov, Nikita Serebryakov, Sergei Tolchinsky, or 2014-eligible Ivan Barbashev) already decided to cross the pond and most likely will have a better chance of being chosen at the 2013 NHL Draft. But other good prospects remain in Russia, prospects that should get some attention during the draft, particularly the players in the first half of these rankings. Here, then, is a list of the some of the top Russian prospects available for the 2013 NHL Draft. Valery Nichushkin, RW, Traktor Chelyabinsk Two years after Maxim Shalunov (CHI) and Nikita Nesterov (TBL) were chosen at the NHL Draft, one of the top hockey schools in Russia, Traktor Chelyabinsk, will once again have at least one of their players chosen by an NHL club. Let’s remember that the Ural team also recently produced two players of the caliber of Evgeny Kuznetsov (WAS) and Slava Voynov (LAK), among others. The 2013 candidate, Valery Nichushkin, is a large winger whose biggest strength lies in his size and his body control on the ice. He is not as skillful as the top Russian prospects usually are, but he knows how to make use of his mass and is a very good skater. Nichushkin is a versatile player whose stock has certainly increased after his successful WJC campaign which included an OT, game-winning goal. On the less bright side for NHL teams, Nichushkin this summer signed a new 3-year deal with Traktor which might scare off some NHL franchises.
Nichushkin tops Russian draft crop at mid-season
Hockey's Future | May 4