Valeri Nichushkin‘s declaration that he’s ready, willing and able to give the National Hockey League a shot next season is a positive move.
Announcing that he’s ready to compete for a roster spot for whichever team picks him in the 2013 NHL Draft after initially indicating he wanted to play out his contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk should put teams picking early in the first round at ease with the young Russian.
And though a trade to Dynamo Moscow sped up his self-determined timeline to the NHL, it doesn’t necessarily mean the 6-foot-4, 196-pound power forward is guaranteed to get a stock boost from such an admission.
Nichushkin has previously told Future Considerations’ Roman Solovyev that he has no intention of coming to North America unless it was to play in the NHL, ruling out any activity in major junior’s Canadian Hockey League or spend time in the minors at the American Hockey League level.
Meaning if he’s not ready to play at hockey’s highest level, the 18-year-old is expected to return to Dynamo for the season. It’s an understanding both he and the team appear to share.
In other words, Nichushkin’s North American plan remains NHL or bust. He’s just given himself the opportunity to try to get there quicker. If he’s not ready to make that jump as a teenager, Dynamo gets Nichushkin for the season, which falls in line with his original plan and target date for playing in the NHL on a full-time basis.
So what’s really changed with Nichushkin’s announcement?
He remains the skilled, dynamic forward that Future Considerations has ranked fifth overall. He’s always been willing to give the NHL a go. He’s just going to give it a try a year earlier than anticipated.
If he’s not ready, everything returns to Nichushkin’s previous schedule of an NHL arrival in 2014-15, which there’s no discouragement in.
Which is why he shouldn’t see a significant spike in his stock on draft day.