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REPORT: Avalanche Won’t Trade Nichushkin While In The Program; Here’s Why

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Avalanche Rantanen nichushkin

And so continues the saga with Valeri Nichushkin and the Colorado Avalanche.

Last month, it was reported that the Chicago Blackhawks had thrown around the idea of making a trade for Nichushkin, who is currently in Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program and suspended until at least the middle of November. They ultimately decided against it. I would imagine a lot of teams have similar feelings, as there are a lot of risks involved in trading for him right now.

There’s nothing that restricts the Avalanche from trading the 29 year old winger other than his no-movement clause. He’d just have to approve any move that is made. Colorado apparently just doesn’t have any interest in moving him.

For now, at least.

On his podcast, NHL insider Chris Johnston spoke about the situation between the Avalanche and the Russian forward.

“And then you have Valeri Nichushkin, who is in stage three of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program,” Johnston said. “He can’t play before November under the terms of that arrangement. The Avalanche are telling teams right now, ‘we’re not trading him during this window.’ They’re hoping to help rehabilitate the player and the person.”

If you follow Val on social media, you’ll see that he appears to be in Italy at the moment. I imagine the Avalanche would have to attach an asset to Nichushkin in any trade, as he has six years left on his deal, and that could play a role in their decision. Earlier this week, Chris MacFarland talked a little bit about the situation and what kind of updates they’re getting.

“I think Val is over in Russia, to our knowledge, doing his rehab work as part of the NHL program,” he said. “I’ll get periodic updates from Mark Gandler (His agent) or the league, as directed, or if they feel there’s something that we need to be kept in the loop on, but we assume he’s doing well at this juncture and that’s really all we know.”

By the time the NHL postseason was finished, the Avalanche forward finished sixth in playoff goal scoring. The five players that finished with more goals than him all played at least 11 more games, so yeah, he’s pretty good. However, this is two straight postseasons where the rest of the team has been left in the dust, and as you can imagine, a lot of people aren’t happy about it. As good as he is, bringing him back would come with a lot of risk. A big reason why the Avalanche had a relatively quiet summer is because of his suspension and their need to be ready to add his salary back if/when he does return.

The earliest he appears to be eligible to return is Nov. 13, which means he’ll miss the first 16 games of next season, at the very least. If he does come back into the locker room, the dynamics will be fascinating to watch.

We’ll see if anything changes over the summer, but for now, Nichushkin is still a member of the Avalanche.

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