Independent Avalanche reporter Adrian Dater reported the news earlier Monday.
Nichushkin will be stepping away from what’s been a very productive season. The 28-year-old currently ranks fourth on the Avalanche in scoring, with 22 goals and 42 points in 40 games.
His point-per-game scoring has been shadowed by his linemates, though, with Nathan MacKinnon boasting 69 points, Mikko Rantanen with 55 points and Cale Makar currently sitting on 48 points. These four, including Nichushkin, lead the Avalanche in average ice time alongside Makar’s defense partner Devon Toews.
Nichushkin is in his fifth season with the Avalanche, managing 189 points in 275 games with the club. That’s a 0.69 points-per-game pace, a large step above the 0.33 points-per-game that Nichushkin averaged in four seasons with the Dallas Stars.
Dallas selected Nichushkin 10th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, only a few picks after now-teammates MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin went in the top three.
Nichushkin made his NHL debut in the following season, scoring 14 goals and 34 points in 79 games as a rookie and ranking 12th in Calder Trophy voting.
But the next few years were inconsistent, as Nichushkin bounced between the Stars’ NHL and AHL lineups. He even left North American hockey altogether for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, opting instead to play with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow.
The winger returned to Dallas for the 2018-19 season but failed to produce, netting only 10 assists and a -4 through 57 games. The Stars opted to buy-out his contract following this slow season, effectively shipping him off to the Avalanche, who signed Nichushkin to a one-year, $850K contract two months later.