In most cases, re-signing an RFA like Valeri Nichushkin would seem fairly simple.
That restricted status limits the options of many young free agents, particularly ones who still lean more toward potential than production like Nichushkin so far in his career.
The Dallas Stars face an additional obstacle, however: the Russian forward could theoretically opt to hop to the KHL.
Stars GM Jim Nill brushed off that possibility when asked by the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika.
On if he has any concern about Nichushkin going back to Russia
“No, I don’t think so. Val’s over here training and I don’t think there’s that issue. Val wants to be in the NHL and he wants to have a good year this year, so I don’t think that’s possible.”
It’s easy to see why such a question would come up.
To the Stars’ credit, they’ve repeatedly said positive things about Nichushkin, labeling him as a “very important player” after the 2015-16 season ended while Lindy Ruff said plenty of glowing things.
Looking at these situations, it’s reasonable to wonder if he really would flirt with a departure. The Stars increasingly expensive group of forwards and his RFA status makes you wonder if he’d garner a significant pay raise – and probably a heightened role – if he went overseas.
The Stars say they aren’t concerned, though, for what it’s worth.