The Dallas Stars are in the midst of a rebuilding process and they need all the help they can get to get back to the respectability they had a few years ago.
With a new GM and a new Head Coach, the Stars renewed their roster and made several trades on an attempt to go younger but they still have a lot of talent and they could be considered as dark-horse candidates to reach the playoffs.
But that doesn’t mean they could get better production from several players and one that definitively needs to improve is rookie forward Valeri Nichushkin.
Granted, the Russian is only 19-years old and he’s relatively young for the league. He was selected with the ninth pick overall in last year’s draft and a lot of hopes were placed on his shoulders. Through the first games of the season, he hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations.
After 12 games in the season, Nichushkin hasn’t scored yet. He only has two assists, four PIM and a -3 rating. Certainly those aren’t numbers expected from a first-rounder and he needs to get better if he wants to maintain his spot in the roster for the reminder of the year.
Luckily for the Stars, Alex Chiasson started the season on the same pace he ended last year and Jamie Benn has looked great next to Tyler Seguin so there aren’t many worries on the offensive side of the puck.
But if they really want to fight for a place in the postseason and, most importantly, if he wants to be considered a core piece of the team going forward, then Nichushkin needs to step his game up sooner than later.