Valeri Nichushkin, NHL Central Scouting's second-rated European skater in its final rankings of prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, told a Russian newspaper that he plans on playing hockey in North America next season.
"I have already decided I will go to the NHL," Nichushkin told R-Sport news agency in Russia. "Dynamo [Moscow] has accepted this calmly and I was told that I can leave if I want to. There are no legal problems. My deal with Dynamo is terminated and I am leaving a free agent."
Nichushkin had four goals and two assists in 18 regular-season games with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Kontinental Hockey League. He raised his play in the postseason, scoring six goals in 25 games to help Traktor reach the KHL finals. He won the KHL's Alexei Cherepanov Award, given to the league's top rookie.
The 6-foot-4, 202-pound right wing also had a goal and an assist in six games to help Russia win the bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
On May 1, Nichushkin, a native of Chelyabinsk, was traded to Dynamo Moscow.