The Dallas Stars have garnered plenty of attention for the offseason moves they made over the course of the summer. That starts with the hiring of general manager Jim Nill, to head coach Lindy Ruff, and the several notable names they acquired during the offseason.
As far as the latter category is concerned, one of the players that the Stars have brought in that has sort of flown under the radar is draft pick Valeri Nichushkin, who the Stars selected at no. 10 overall at the NHL Entry Draft earlier in the summer.
The thing about Nichushkin is that he was considered a top five talent going into the draft. It was that Russian cloud hanging over his head, and the uncertainty about his attitude that comes along with it, that led to him slipping to the Stars, who couldn’t be happier to have him.
Nichushkin made it clear immediately that the NHL is where he wants to be, not the KHL. And with the Stars unable to send him to the AHL, given his age, they’d likely prefer he stick around with them. That’s been the goal from the beginning. That looks like the way things will continue to go as we near the season opener.
It hasn’t taken long for Nichushkin to show that he belongs at this level. It’s something that the Stars really aren’t surprised with, though. A top tier talent, Nichushkin is a big body in the lineup, but supremely skilled. He’s going to be an offensive force.
He’s been good in the preseason for the Stars, finding the back of the net multiple times already. Barring any sort of meltdown over the course of the next several days, he appears to be a lock. A potential top line of Nichushkin, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin, sounds like something that the rest of the Western Conference should be quite fearful of.