Valeri Nichuskin is the most exciting prospect to enter the Dallas Stars organization in years. This profile shouldn't really need much. All that should be necessary is to tell you to watch the highlight video and realize this kid is 18.
The highlight video makes his skills very apparent. Nichuskin is really big. He is an excellent skater. He has high end offensive ability. The video shows these things clearly. We also know he was a kid playing against other kids. The highlights show us the ridiculous potential he has to be an impact NHLer at some point, but until the real competition starts it will be hard to get a read on his ultimate impact in his rookie season.
Two areas where he could make an immediate impact stick out. The first is on the powerplay. We know how lifeless the Stars powerplay has been. They completely lacked creativity last season to the point that it was a major victory if the Stars retained possession after crossing the blueline. Nichushkin's speed, hands, and puck skills suggest that he could be a big asset on the powerplay. The Stars have had a habit of trying to hit streaking forwards with a stretch pass in full flight. Imagine if they hit Nichushkin in full sprint. No one in the league is keeping pace, and chances are that a powerplay goal is going to happen.
The other area Nichushkin can impact early on is in the shootout. The same skills that could make him dangerous on the powerplay will serve him well in the shootout. We've seen that players who are able to attack with speed and skill make goalies crazy in the skills competition.
There are numerous questions we need answered before we can begin figuring out what impact Nichushkin will make in 2014. We have few ideas about what type of defensive player he is, what type of teammate he will be, or really any facet of team related play. His ranking is indicative of the serious level of talent that is apparent every time he is on film.
We know so little about him, but what we do know about him is tantalizing. If he realizes even half of his potential this season the Stars have an obvious top six forward with a chance to be special as a rookie. If he takes some time to develop anything could happen as a rookie, but given his electrifying skill set there is no doubt that whatever happens it will be exciting.