One team looked into signing suspended Valeri Nichushkin!

One team looked into signing suspended Valeri Nichushkin!

What were they thinking?

Chris Gosselin

It’s been reported since the end of the 2023-24 season that the Chicago Blackhawks have been looking to get Connor Bedard more offensive support. There are some options out there ahead of free agency on the trade market, including acquiring the rights to Jake Guentzel or even going for Martin Necas of the Carolina Hurricanes, but of course, there is a price to pay.

It might have been the fact that the price, reportedly a star power return, was too steep for the Blackhawks and general manager Kyle Davidson that Pierre LeBrun reports in his latest article on The Athletic that Chicago looked into the possibility of signing suspended Valeri Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche. Here is what LeBrun says about this stunning news:

“There was a rumor floating around that the Hawks were considering taking a look at suspended star forward Valeri Nichushkin from the Colorado Avalanche , but I’m told they’re not interested. Just too much unknown and risk for their liking.”

Back in May, Nichushkin was placed in Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA Assistance Program. It’s the second time this season he’s been in the program, and Stage 3 means he violated the terms of the program. Under the terms of the joint program, Nichushkin was also suspended without pay for a minimum of six months.

During his first stint in the program earlier in the campaign, Nichushkin missed close to two months to receive care from the program for issues that were not disclosed. It came on the heels of missing the final five games of a playoff exit last season for what the team called personal reasons after officers were called to his hotel room in April 2023 where an intoxicated woman had been discovered in Nichushkin’s room by team staffers. The forward did not play for the remainder of that playoffs.

Nichushkin had a career year this season, recording a career-best 28 goals and 53 points. We get why the Blackhawks would want to add that type of firepower, but they could have to deal with much worse when it comes to Nichushkin.

Glad they stepped away from that possibility.