The NHL is having a rookie party, and for 13 games it seemed like Valeri Nichushkin hadn’t received his invite. The Dallas Stars youngster finally got onto the board against the Ottawa Senators today though, and that goal should get the man-child going.
After a preseason that saw Nichushkin score some highlight reel goals and look like a bona fide top-six threat, he fell quiet as soon as the regular season began. He sank from early-season Calder Trophy favorite to afterthought almost overnight as sensations like Sean Monahan and Tomas Hertl set the league on fire with their spectacular level of play.
Nichushkin stuck to it though, and kudos to the Stars for remaining patient with the 18-year-old first-round pick from 2013 while he found his stride in the NHL.
While he didn’t show off his lighting-quick hands or bull-like mentality on the marker, Nichushkin used his ridiculous release to fool Craig Anderson for his first score of his career. He was clearly stoked on the bench following the goal.
This begs the question though: now that Nichushkin has finally broken through, will he go on a tear? It isn’t outside the realm of possibility. He’s a top-notch scorer that is capable of beating teams all on his own if he feels like it. This is a big step in the right direction for the teenager, and now that the proverbial monkey is off of his back, don’t be surprised to see the goals keep coming for Nichushkin and the Stars.