July 12 (UPI) -- The Colorado Avalanche signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract extension, the Stanley Cup champions announced.
"Signing Val to a long-term deal was a top priority for us this off-season, as he would have been one of the most sought-after forwards on the open market," Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said in a news release.
"Val is a big, strong, fast, tenacious winger who is relentless on the puck. He can play on the first line with our top guys, you can move him up and down the lineup. He plays power play, penalty kill, any situation you need him to.
"He works hard off the ice as well in the gym and is a humble person and great teammate. He is such an important player in our lineup and a huge reason why we won the Stanley Cup."
Nichushkin, 27, totaled a career-high 52 points last season, with 25 goals and 27 assists. The Russian also chipped in nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 20 Stanley Cup playoff games last postseason.
He joined the Avalanche in 2019 as a free agent. He spent the first three seasons of his career with the Dallas Stars, but left that franchise for the KHL's CSKA Moscow for the next two seasons. He returned to the Stars for the 2018-19 campaign.
The 6-foot-4 forward entered the league as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Nichushkin logged 174 points, with 71 goals and 103 assists in 405 appearances over his first seven seasons in the NHL.