Report: Nichushkin may have just voided his contract with the Avalanche
Zuma Press  

Report: Nichushkin may have just voided his contract with the Avalanche

Can the Avs now terminate his $50 mlion deal?

Trevor Connors

According to multiple online reports, suspended Colorado Avalanche player Valeri Nichushkin has signed a contract with a Russian summer league called the Media Hockey League.

Nichushkin, of course, is under an NHL suspension for the next 6 months for violating terms of his NHLPA Player Assistance Program. The Russian forward has in the past shared that he struggles with addiction issues and was worked to try to resolve those problems. He has had to leave his team twice in the past two seasons for treatment and was most recently handed a stiff suspension from the NHL for violating the terms of his program. 

Now there are reports that the Avalanche could actually terminate Nichushkin's 8 year, $49 million contract as a result of his agreement to play back home in Russia. The NHL strictly forbids players from signing professional contracts with any other teams, so it'll be interesting to see how they handle this case. Did Nichushkin just void his own NHL contract? Do the Avs have a case to terminate his deal now?

Stay tuned.

Read below for our earlier report on Nichushkin, published by Hockey Feed staff writer Jonathan Larrivee last month.

Valeri Nichushkin may have burned a bridge he cannot rebuild.

The talented Russian forward let his team down in a major way during their second round playoff series against the Dallas Stars when he earned himself a 6 month suspension with reports that the suspension came as a result of a failed drug test.

The Avalanche would of course subsequently be eliminated at the hands of the aforementioned Stars with many fans left to wonder how things could have been different if the Avalanche hadn't been missing one of their core forwards.

Unfortunately this isn't the first time that Nichushkin has let his team down in a similar fashion, and it may very well be that the teammates who have had to deal with his antics have now had enough.

"Does the team want to bring him back?" asked NHL insider Elliotte Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast. "And right now the feelings are very raw."

I can't even begin to imagine how frustrated players in the Avalanche locker room have to be with Nichushkin with him having seriously damaged their chances in the playoffs on two different occasions now. That is especially true when you think of players like Nathan MacKinnon, who by all accounts work extremely hard on their physical conditioning and health in order to maximize their chances of winning on the ice.

Unfortunately for the Avalanche it sounds like moving on from Nichushkin might be a little complicated.

"This is one where they don't have grounds to terminate his contract," revealed Friedman.

"You can't just unilaterally terminate his deal... grievances will force settlements."

Friedman believes this one could end with some type of settlement between player and team.

"At some point will there be a conversation between player and organization saying 'We would like to come to some kind of negotiated settlement so everyone can move on' but everyone has to agree with that and I don't think that's gonna happen in the short term," admitted Friedman.

I don't know how any of the players or personnel within the Avalanche organization feel, but I can't imagine a scenario where any of them would want Nichushkin back after two major fumbles during the most important time of the season, the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Source: Hockey News Hub