Stars’ Val Nichushkin keeping 'all options open' in quest for new deal

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NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 05: <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/5989/" data-ylk="slk:Valeri Nichushkin">Valeri Nichushkin</a> #43 of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/dal/" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Stars">Dallas Stars</a> skates against the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/nyr/" data-ylk="slk:New York Rangers">New York Rangers</a> at Madison Square Garden on January 5, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Stars 6-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 05: Valeri Nichushkin #43 of the Dallas Stars skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 5, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Stars 6-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Val Nichushkin may finally sign a contract, and it could potentially not be with the Dallas Stars.

The 21-year-old RFA saw his KHL rights dealt from Dynamo to CSKA, who reportedly would like to sign him to a two-year deal. Nichushkin’s agent, Mark Gandler, told Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet that “nothing is done and all options remain open.”

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Will this affect negotiations with the Stars? From the sounds of it, Dallas GM Jim Nill isn’t budging. He told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, “They know what our offers are.” A one-year “show me” contract is probably what Nichushkin will get if he decides to stay.

In three seasons with the Stars, Nichushkin has scored 23 goals and recorded 64 points in 166 games while averaging nearly 14 minutes of ice time per game.

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The Stars sent Nichushkin a qualifying offer in June to retain his rights, with Nill saying,” He’s a very important player to us.” As negotiations dragged on, he remained confident a month later, saying, “We’re going to get something done.” Same thing in August when talks were described as “good.”

What could have been holding up the execution of a deal? According to Russian reporter Igor Eronko, Nichushkin isn’t a big fan of Lindy Ruff, but would like to return to the Stars in the future.

If Nichushkin does end up jumping to the KHL, Dallas will still own his NHL rights, though unlike the Vladimir Sobotka situation in St. Louis, the forward would not owe the Stars any service time since he remains unsigned.

UPDATE:

UPDATE #2: Nill, speaking with Sean Shapiro from the Traverse City prospect tournament, doesn’t sound too concerned about losing Nichushkin for a year or two:

“The good news is he’s 21 years of age, he’s going to play over there and keep developing. I just hope we get a more mature player when he decides to come back over. It’s not the end of the world.”


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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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