Valeri Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche
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Valeri Nichushkin's contract poses a big problem for Colorado

Published May 15, 2024 at 1:44 PM

The Colorado Avalanche have a big decision to make this offseason when it comes to the contract of Valeri Nichushkin and the terms included in his deal.

For the second year in a row, the Colorado Avalanche are without star player Valeri Nichushkin in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season, Nichushkin mysteriously disappeared in the first round, and wasn't heard of again until it was announced that he had entered the NHL's Player Assistance Program. Now, Nichushkin has been suspended for a minimum of six months for violating the terms of the program and re-entering it once again.

While many are wondering what the future holds for the relationship between Nichushkin and the Avalanche, one thing we know for sure is they can't terminate his contract. That comes from TSN insider Pierre Lebrun.

"In case people are wondering, a league source said what has transpired here does not constitute grounds for the Avalanche to consider a contract termination. A league source also confirmed that Nichushkin will not count on the Avalanche's salary cap while he's suspended over the next six months."

As for a buyout of his deal, Nichushkin is currently in year two of an eight year contract paying him $6.125 per season. According to Capfriendly's buyout calculator, he would count towards Colorado's salary cap until 2036 if that happened. It's not an attractive option.

The Avalanche could try to trade Nichushkin, but it seems far-fetched to think that team's are lining up to take on that contract given everything that's gone on.

"So what do the Avalanche do now? Well, they can try and trade Nichushkin, but good luck getting another team to take a chance on a player who won't be able to apply for reinstatement until sometime in November."

It should also be noted that Nichushkin currently has a full no-movement clause for another two seasons, when it moves to a 12-team no trade list for the remainder of his deal. It seems like a no-win situation for Colorado. Whatever the choice, there's a lot of risk involved.
May 15   |   449 answers
Valeri Nichushkin's contract poses a big problem for Colorado

What decision do you think the Colorado Avalanche will make on Valeri Nichushkin's contract?

Buy out16536.7 %
Attempt to trade9922 %
Keep him and hope things get better11926.5 %
Not sure6614.7 %
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