Nichushkin is a 6-foot-4, 202-pound wing who had four goals and six points playing 18 regular-season games for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2012-13. He scored six goals and had nine points in 25 playoff games as Traktor advanced to the Gagarin Cup Finals.
"Valeri is a skilled and competitive forward who we feel was at the top of the talent pool in this season's NHL Draft," general manager Jim Nill said via the team's Twitter account. "We feel that he can come in and immediately compete for a job at the NHL level."
Nichushkin scored the overtime goal against Canada that gave Russia the bronze medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship. He was the No. 2-rated European skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings.