Nichushkin scored 13 goals and added 14 assists in 65 games for the Avs last season. After failing to live up to expectations in Dallas, the 25-year old winger resurrected his career after signing on in Colorado for the league minimum just before training camp.
“Valeri played important minutes for us this season and had one of the best years of his career,” General Manager Joe Sakic said in a press release. “He is a big, young winger who provides depth scoring, can play up and down our lineup and is reliable defensively. We’re happy to have him back for another two seasons.”
Nichushkin’s defensive game was a bit of a revelation this season. Despite being bounced around the lineup, he not only finished with some of then best numbers on the team but he was also among the best defensive forward in then NHL.
Valeri Nichushkin, signed 2x$2.5, was the NHL's king analytical darling this season. Exceptional defensive player because of his forechecking and plenty of offensive talent as well. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/WfskkQbL8I— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 10, 2020
The Avalanche had a big day Saturday, re-signing both Nichushkin and Andre Burakovesky while making a big splash in the trade market, sending defender Nikita Zadorov to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Brandon Saad.
After the moves, the Avalanche still have around $10m of cap space with RFAs Ryan Graves and Tyson Jost still to be signed. That means that Sakic still has more than enough cap space to make another impact acquisition if he finds one that would improve the lineup.