According to Hockey Night in Canada insider Elliotte Friedman, the Colorado Avalanche have made it known to forward Valeri Nichushkin that he is a priority this summer. The club has reached out to his agent and let them know that, while they have a lot of work to do this summer, he’s at the top of their list to find a solution.

Related: Avalanche Crush Vasilevskiy & Lightning 7-0: Can Colorado Be Stopped?

Valeri Nichushkin: 5 goals in his last 4 playoff games, 2 goals tonight…dark horse for Conn Smythe??

— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 19, 2022

Prior to going on an incredible run in this year’s playoffs, Nichushkin was already proving to be an incredible gamble that paid off for the Avs. Essentially dumped by Dallas (he went 91 games without a goal), the winger signed for a team-friendly deal with Colorado for $850K. He then signed another two-year low-cost deal in 2020 and has paid dividends, helping the Avalanche make a run to the Stanley Cup Final where they are now up 2-0 in their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This season he’s been especially good and is garnering attention around the NHL. With a 25-goal season and 52 points in 62 games, he’s breaking out and becoming an incredibly complete player. What he’ll be worth on the open market isn’t clear and the Avs may have a hard time working it into their budget, but they’ve let him know it is their intention to try.

Avalanche Do Have One Advantage

Friedman did note during the intermission of Saturday’s game that the Avalanche do have one key thing working on their side when it comes to negotiations; that he knows what it’s like to play in a place where things did not work out well. He likes it in Colorado and he’s found a good fit where he can be successful. That is going to mean something when it comes time for him to make his choice.

There will be teams that show interest and if Colorado can get anywhere near what Nichushkin will be offered on the open market, they should be able to keep him.

Next: Marc-Andre Fleury Says He’d Sign With Canadiens Under One Condition

The post Avalanche Making Nichushkin a Free Agent Priority: Is He Too Costly? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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