MONTREAL, QC–The 2013 edition of the NHL Entry Draft is almost here! This week, All Habs has brought back the Who’s This Guy? series for a quick look at the top prospects who will hear their names called this upcoming Sunday. Today’s prospect is Valeri Nichushkin.
March 4th, 1995
Nichushkin played in the KHL this season, spending time between Traktor Chelyabinsk and Chelmet. As a 17-year old, he won the KHL Aleksei Cherepanov (Best Rookie) Award and was also featured on the bronze medal-winning Russian squad at this year’s edition of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. He jumped up a couple of spots in CSS’ final rankings to become the second-best European skater available for selection.
He is said to have the necessary skill-set to become a hugely dominant player, but a few questions have surrounded his commitment level not only on the ice, but which side of the pond he is most drawn to building a career on. At the beginning of May, his rights were transferred to Dynamo Moskva, a contract that his agent said had been terminated, but contains the option to resume should Nichushkin not make it in the NHL.
What you’ve probably heard by now
Aside from The Specs and The Skinny, not a whole lot. The Big Three have garnered quite a bit of the attention surrounding this year’s draft.
Canadians try to forget that he was the one that erased their chances of a 2013 WJC medal finish by scoring at 1:35 of overtime. Oops.
He was suspended in the same tournament following a hit from behind on Tyler Wotherspoon.
What you may not know
Comparisons have been made to Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin…
…but the fears surrounding his contract situation have also brought in the name Radulov.
His favourite teams growing up were the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers. “As a child, when I played computer games I always chose Philadelphia. Now I also play with them on my console. And why the Rangers, I don’t even know. Probably, because they’re based in New York. But after the draft, my favorite team will be the one that picks me.”
From the same interview: “To be honest, I don’t care about these [combine] tests. It’s more important for me to talk to the teams. That’s my only goal.” Interesting…
From Mark Edwards, HockeyProspect.com:
“No bigger topic as far as players go during the post games in [the 2013 U18 World Junior Championships in] Sochi than this kid. He had some lazy play in his game at the U18 after dominating the Five Nations tourney a couple of months earlier. That said, this kid is an elite talent. He might have as a high a ceiling as any player in this draft. His shot is elite and deadly. He has tremendous size, protects the puck well and drives the net with great effectiveness. Some teams are still very careful when it comes to Russians. I see Buffalo as the first possible resting place, if not, Jersey or Dallas behind them may jump on him.”
Mark Edwards is the Founder and Director of Scouting of Hockey Prospect, Independent Scouting Service. Once again this year, Hockey Prospect has made their NHL Draft Black Book available for purchase. It contains information on not only the prospects set to hear their names called this year, but those who are eligible all the way up to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, as well as hundreds of game reports and insights on players in the OHL, WHL, QMJHL, USHL, Europe, Prep, EJHL, OJHL and the BCHL.