Lucky no. 13. While unlucky to others, the Colorado Avalanche have lucked out on their no. 13 since he came on board in 2019.
Valeri Nichushkin’s move from the Dallas Stars to the Avs has paid dividends since his arrival in Denver. This was exemplified further after he was signed to the largest deal of his career this summer after helping Colorado win the Stanley Cup.
His newly-signed eight-year, $6.125M seemed like a lot back when it was signed, but it has been worth every penny since. In the first six games this season, Nichushkin has six goals and five assists for 11 points. He is second for the most points in the league and goals scored. Averaging nearly two points a game, Val’s rumbling on the tracks to start the year.
Four of his six goals have come on the power play, including a couple on Opening Night against the Chicago Blackhawks. If his performance on Opening Night wasn’t imperative to what we’ll see this season, he’s only done more to prove his worth.
He’s also been effective on the other end of special teams, with a shorthanded goal against the Minnesota Wild, even though it came in an empty-net scenario. Nichushkin also provided this beautiful assist to Bowen Byram against the Seattle Kraken.
If Nichushkin continues at this pace, who knows what his final point total will be? Once Gabriel Landeskog returns from injury, how will he pair with him? We’ve seen in the last couple of games a substantial amount of chemistry growing between Nichushkin and new Avs player Evan Rodrigues. Could his impact be felt on the new depth in the bottom six to help them improve?
All of this is to say Nichushkin is here to stay. He’s earned it. Avs faithful have to be proud he’s on our team, and his impact can be felt across the league. Like a train rumbling down the tracks, he’s flying.