June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage and draft board order as commissioner Gary Bettman announces the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Valeri Nichushkin Will Come To North America

According to Corey Pronman and a rsport.ru article, 2013 draft prospect Valeri Nichushkin said that he has decided to transfer to North America. His KHL team, HC Dynamo Moscow will terminate his contract with the team.

Nichushkin is projected to be a top-five pick because of his speed and size. The left-winger stands at 6-4 and scored the bronze-medal winning goal at this year’s World Juniors when he burst past Canes’ prospect Ryan Murphy and beat Malcolm Subban to win the game in overtime.

Despite the skill, Nichushkin scared teams because he had a three-year deal with his KHL team and no one knew when he would come over to play in the NHL similar to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2010, but has not come to the NHL.

Pronman also said that the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Hurricanes have expressed interest and have talked to Nichushkin. The Lightning and Predators draft third and fourth, respectively, both above the Hurricanes.

In many mock drafts Nichushkin was projected to go fifth to the Hurricanes, but with his announcement of coming to North America, there’s a chance Nichushkin will go higher than that.

If the Canes do draft Nichushkin, he would fit on the second line with Jordan Staal and Tuomo Ruutu, creating a huge second line. It’s likely that Nichushkin has enough skill to play in the NHL next season.

 

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