Valeri Nichushkin

Darren Walker

Nichushkin is a man-child of a power winger. He has the ability to absolutely run over defenders and opponents when he drops his shoulder and focuses on taking the puck hard to the net. He’s hard to stop as he builds up a head of steam and he enters the zone because of his strength, reach and puck protection abilities. He is so strong and near-impossible to get the puck off. He has a strong and balanced skating stride and can generate immense speed and move with excellent agility. Nichushkin has a great change of direction and understands how pace can open up room for him. His leg strength and first couple strides are strong and will only get better as he continues to grow into his mammoth frame. He can handle the puck at top speeds and, while he is not a water bug type of ashy dangler, does have some tricks in the bag that have to be respected by opposing defenders and goaltenders. He is a true goal scorer whose instincts tell him to look for an opening before he even considers a pass to a teammate and has the ability to get pucks up high quickly when in tight with little space and time. A strong backhand and extremely quick wrist shot make him dangerous whenever he has the puck in the offensive zone. To match his frame, Nichushkin’s temperament is feisty and not only is willing to battle hard physically but seems to relish that type of contact with opponents. His development trajectory this season has been phenomenal as you saw growth in his games each and every time he played. Able to generate his own chances and create for those around him due to his relentless efforts with the puck. (May 2013)