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Nichushkin expected to return to Stars in 2018-19

Restricted free agent forward left Dallas, signed two-year KHL contract in September @NHLdotcom

Right wing Valeri Nichushkin is expected return to the Dallas Stars for the 2018-19 season after fulfilling his contract with CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, the Stars said Wednesday.

Nichushkin, 22, was the Stars' first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He had 64 points (23 goals, 41 assists) in 166 NHL games from 2013-16 before becoming a restricted free agent and signing a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow on Sept. 20. Nichushkin had 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 36 KHL games last season.

"I talked to Val, he had a commitment and he knew that going in," general manager Jim Nill told the Stars website. "He talked to the team, and he knew he had to go back one more year. I had a good talk with him and told him you're going to playing in all the national team tournaments and get a chance to make the Olympics. Take advantage of it.

"It's a great year of development for him. He's excited about that. And then he comes back the following year."

The Stars, who hired Ken Hitchcock to replace Lindy Ruff as coach on April 12, signed center Martin Hanzal (July 1) and right wing Alexander Radulov (July 3) as free agents. They also acquired goalie Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings on May 9 and defenseman Marc Methot from the Vegas Golden Knights on June 26.

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