Video: 2013 NHL Combine – Valeri Nichushkin, Russia

By Ken McKenna
Valeri Nichushkin - Traktor Chelyabinsk

Photo: Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin was named the KHL’s Rookie of the Year for the 2012-13 season and is likely to be a high pick at the NHL Draft (courtesy of Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)


While he doesn't qualify as a sleeper for the 2013 NHL Draft, Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin presents a tantalizing selection of skills wrapped in a mildly mysterious identity.

To be sure, there is little doubt about the level of talent that Nichushkin possesses. When he is on his game, he is as talented as any player that is eligible for this year's NHL Draft. And, when you combine his talent level with his 6'4”, 202-pound frame, it is no surprise that there is great anticipation for the Chelyabinsk, Russia native's NHL debut, wherever that may ultimately be.

But the mystery surrounding Nichushkin stems in part from the fact he has not totally divorced himself from the idea of staying in Russia for an extended period of time. He has stated that he would like to come to North America to play in the NHL, but that is where his interest begins and ends. The CHL or AHL do not appear to be options he will consider.

Of course, if Nichushkin plays to his skill level in an NHL training camp this fall, then the debate around where he'll play is likely to be moot as he should easily make the roster of whichever team calls him name in Newark, NJ later this month.

Nichushkin met with the media at the 2013 NHL Combine, a portion of which is captured in this Hockey's Future video.


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