Nashville Predators Select Valeri Nichushkin With the Fourth Pick in 2013 Fansided NHL Mock Draft

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Previously: The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Jonathon Drouin from the Halifax Mooseheads.

The Nashville Predators might be making what some would consider a high risk move, at least by their standards.  Taking Valeri Nichushkin fourth overall has all kinds of yellow flags, a lot of fans would be quick to say “what about Radulov?”  To that the answer is, “what about Datsyuk, Malkin, and Ovechkin?”  It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion the Nashville Predators would be selecting Aleksander Barkov, the Center from Finland, so what changed?  Nichushkin’s contract situation mostly.  It was thought he would have to sit out at least two seasons before he could come in on his entry level deal, but it has came through the wires recently that he will be released from his KHL contract in order to play his career in the NHL.

Now the question in many people’s minds, what is the difference between a Valeri Nichushkin and an Aleksander Barkov?  Well, one of them is a dynamic winger (more likely a right winger than left) and a big bodied forward much like the Predators have and love with Colin Wilson, the other one (Barkov) is a playmaking center who is responsible in his own zone, and has tape to tape passes.  Truthfully, either pick would boost the Predators up quite a bit, but with Filip Forsberg already being in the mold of a playmaker who can put the puck on someone’s stick, we now need someone to put the puck in the back of the net.  That would be Valeri Nichushkin.  He reminds me a lot of Scotty Hartnell, with the offensive skill of Radulov.  If he can/will stay loyal to the Predators, then he could be a great player for us.

I won’t lie to you, the fact the Predators themselves haven’t had overwhelming luck with Russians is in the front of my mind.  But, the NHL draft is about taking the best player available, and Nichushkin fits that mold.  Granted, he’s only had 6 points in the KHL regular season, and 9 in the post season, but he’s also been playing against grown men just like Barkov.  Add in the fact he has room to grow his frame greatly (he’s 6 ft 3 and 195 lbs) and he could be that perfect compliment to Colin Wilson AND Filip Forsberg.  Add in the fact we’ve still got Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Brendan Leipsic in the system and you could have a very explosive series of players for years to come.

Tomorrow: The Fansided NHL Mock Draft continues with the Carolina Hurricanes picking next in the Fansided mock draft.

Tags: NHL Draft Nichushkin Predators

  • Christopher-J Carlson

    I was very pleased when I heard Nichushkin’s KHL team agreed to his release to play in the NHL. (Make note that if he doesn’t make an NHL roster next season he is obligated to go back to his KHL team.) Before hearing this I was sure Barkov (who’s Finnish-Russian with dual-citizenship, BTW) would be Nashville’s pick. But I have no doubt that the Preds consider Nichushkin a prime target now. Totally agree with this article’s comparison of Barkov and Forsberg and the need for someone – like Nichushkin – to score goals.

    Only thing that makes me wary is the fact that he apparently needs to shoot more, something that bothered me so much about Martin Erat. Although Erat is a playmaker, he has a great shot and too often chooses to forego a shot to set up someone else. Considering the Preds history of having few natural goal-scorers, a few extra shots from Erat would have been so useful.

    Of course, Erat’s gone now, and we may have more goal-scoring potential than we ever had, what with Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque (and Craig Smith when he’s feeling happy, and Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis on the blueline). Add Nichushkin (and tell him if he doesn’t shoot enough he’ll be heading back to Russia LOL!) and the future looks bright.



    I absolutely love Barkov, he is another prospect I am really high on and he has a great skill set. However, the only thing Barkov really had over Nichushkin is the fact that Barkov could play immediately. Now that the situation with the KHL has been resolved, it shows me that we need to look directly at Nichushkin for our next big time forward. He plays a complete game, granted he didn’t have many points this year but he still showed the ability to put the puck from tape to tape as well as in the back of the net. The other upside to him is, he can play defense too. He’s very responsible in his own end, and he has shown he isn’t afraid to put his body out and make the hit.

    I would agree somewhat on him needing to shoot more, but I feel like that is something that could change as he gets surrounded by better talent. The Russian factor does scare me some (even though it is present with both of them) but it doesn’t scare me enough to say “OH NO WE CAN’T TAKE THIS GUY!”. I think there is more motivating factors for the young forward than just money, unlike Radulov who seemed fueled by money and money alone. The other side of that argument is, look at the number of guys who stayed in the NHL from Russia over leaving the NHL for Russia.

    I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed with either selection really, but I feel at this time Valeri Nichushkin is the better player than Barkov. Unfortunately for Mr. Barkov, his draft stock wasn’t helped by the fact he is missing the physical portion of the NHL Combine.

  • jonathan nadeau

    Valeri Nichushkin nice i cant wait to see him playing also i like russian people so your welcome

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