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Evan’s NHL Daily: Kovalenko, Gulyayev On To Playoffs; Debrusk Available?



Avalanche Mikhail Gulyayev nhl draft

The KHL playoffs are about to start for Colorado’s two prospects over in Russia. While one could see his team go on an extended run, the other might not have much season left, meaning that he could be in the NHL very, very soon.

Meanwhile, the big news in Colorado was the return of Valeri Nichushkin to practice. We spoke to players and coach about what his return means for a variety of different reasons.

Out East, the Bruins are in a bit of a rut. Could they deal off a guy like Jake Debrusk before he potentially leaves as a UFA?

All that and more in this Tuesday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

We knew something was up when the Avalanche reduced their roster to 22 early Monday morning. Turns out, it meant the return of Valeri Nichushkin was near.

Spoke to Cale Makar and Jared Bednar about what it means to get Nichushkin back in the locker room.

KHL Regular Season Ends

The first full KHL regular season for Mikhail Gulyayev has come to an end, and it was a pretty impressive one, given his age. He earned a bigger role as the year went on, and did so on a very good team. Avangard is the 2 seed in their conference and could very easily go far in the playoffs. Gulyayev is signed for two more years in the KHL, so it will be a while before he makes his way over to the NHL, but an encouraging season for the young defenseman.

On the flip side, you’ve got Nikolai Kovalenko and his Torpedo squad. They started the year red-hot but finished cold as ice, dropping all the way down to 7th in the West. Kovalenko went through a tough stretch, but looked a lot more like himself down the stretch. The team, however, is a bit of a mess, and lots of rumors of turmoil there. On Monday, they blew another lead, and now will have to face powerhouse SKA in round one. That likely means a short run for them.

That also likely means the Avalanche will get Kovalenko over in the NHL sooner than anticipated a few months ago. Their playoffs start on Friday. Kovalenko finished with 35 points in 42 games. If you’re expecting a Kaprizov, reset those expectations. He’s a bull in a china shop who has some skill. Free depth down the stretch never hurts, and Kovalenko has made it clear he wants to stick in the NHL.

Around the NHL

Dallas will be in town tonight, and the Avalanche will get lucky, catching them on the second half of a back-to-back. As is tradition, the Stars managed to get the game to overtime, which they always do, but lost, picking up just a point. They likely won’t hold a morning skate today, but did extend their lead in the Central over the Avalanche to four points. Colorado has one game in hand.

Stars GM Jim Nill makes it clear they will look to add a defenseman.

National Hockey Now

He might not be long for the Penguins, but Jake Guentzel joined them on their trip out West.

Should the Bruins deal Jake Debrusk? According to one NHL source, he’s not likely to sign an extension before the season ends.

There isn’t a ton appealing in San Jose ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, but Anthony Duclair may be one.

Philadelphia is falling in the standings a little bit, and have now lost Jamie Drysdale. Does that change their plans at the deadline?

A mailbag for the Montreal Canadiens.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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