Nichushkin nets Cherepanov prize

Aaron Vickers2013 Draft Center

Valeri Nichushkin has been the most hotly debated name in the 2013 NHL Draft class.

There was no contesting his impact in the Kontinental Hockey League this season.

Nichushkin was named the recipient of the Alexei Cherepanov Award as the KHL’s rookie of the year on Wednesday, capping a year that also included an overtime goal against Canada in the bronze medal game at the World Junior Championship.

The 6-foot-4, 196-pound power winger had four goals and six points in 18 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk this season and helped his club team to get to the league final adding six goals in 25 games.

Nichushkin has been a hot topic after announcing his commitment to play in the National Hockey League earlier this week. He had previous stated that he wanted to play out the duration of his two-year contract with Traktor, but altered his plan after being dealt to Dynamo Moscow on May 1st.

Fifth in Future Considerations’ final ranking, Nichushkin is expected to return to Russia if he isn’t able to crack the roster of the team that drafts him in New Jersey on June 30th.