Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nichushkin in Cedar Park? Not So Fast...

Traverse City tourney from several years ago
Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars first round pick in Sunday's draft, is a rare first round pick eligible to play in the AHL immediately after the draft. Because he is coming from the KHL, instead of the CHL, the transfer rules we are used to do not apply. However, Nichushkin is also the sort of player that could make an NHL impact in the first year after his draft. Unfortunately for Texas fans, he is likely to start the season in Dallas and has specifically stated that he would come to North America next year as long as he didn't have to play in the AHL.

It's sort of unclear what should be gathered from that statement. In a perfect world, any draft pick would say they were willing to go wherever the organization wanted them in order to ensure they had the best chance to develop into a consistent NHL contributor. However, fairly or not, Russian players have developed a reputation for turning down chances to play in North America, especially in the minor leagues, in favor of the KHL ranks.

The other players drafted on Sunday may not get to the pro ranks for a few years. For comparison, the Texas Stars' coming rookie players for this next season were mostly drafted in 2010 and 2011. That puts your potential AHL ETA for players like Jason Dickinson or Remi Elie at 2015-16 or 16-17.

Until then, you can monitor their growth as sites like Defending Big D track their progress.

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