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NICHUSHKIN'S AGENT ON HIS FANTASTIC PLAYOFF RUN AND TURNING UFA IN JULY

JUN 19, 2022  (12H09)      TIM TUCKER
If you haven't been following the story of the Colorado Avalanche's Valeri Nichushkin this post season, you're missing out. Once bought out by the Dallas Stars after going 57 games without a goal, Nichushkin has been an absolute beast at both ends of the ice for the Avs in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 27-year-old has 8 goals and 13 points in 16 post season games, and is coming up huge in the defensive and forechecking departments. Nichushkin is shining at the best possible moment, financially speaking, as he will become an unrestricted free agent July 13th, should Colorado not re-sign him before then. Nichushkin's agent, Mark Gandler, said his client isn't thinking about that at the moment.

"He's oblivious to this, believe me,» Gandler said in an interview with The Athletic. "If he cared, he wouldn't be playing so well. He's oblivious to the whole thing. He's just enjoying himself."

According to Gandler, Nichushkin's battle to overcome hip surgery and his offensive drought are serving as motivation for his current play.

"Hip surgery is six months of rehab and then you have to learn how to play the game again," Gandler said. "It basically took a whole season away from him. When he comes back, he just wasn't going anywhere."

"Not scoring in 57 games made for a difficult time for Val. It feeds on itself. It's a beast," Gandler said. «But I don't know where buying him out came from. It was unexpected.»

Nichushkin actually left the NHL to play in the KHL at one point, before signing a new contract with the Dallas Stars and coming back to North America. That was a two-year deal, but he would only play one of them. After his terrible 10 points, all assists, in 59 games, Stars GM Jim Nill bought him out of the last year of his contract, making him a free agent. NIchushin signed a one-year contract with Colorado for just over minimum salary in 2019. He signed a new two-year agreement in 2020 for $2.5 million per season, and that's the one that runs out this summer.

In the 2021-22 regular season, Nichushkin had 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games. Combine that with his post season performance, and he's on track for a huge raise. Gandler firmly believes he'll either get whether he stays with Colorado or not.

"It's not up to us. It's up to Joe [Sakic]," Gandler said. "Joe is a very good manager. He's going to choose who he wants to retain. If he makes a good offer, we're good with that. If he doesn't, he doesn't. It's not a problem. He's going to get a job, no question.

Source: The Athletic
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