October 4, 2022
After signing his extension, Denis Gurianov knows he's at a crossroad

After a disappointing season, the 25-year-old winger signed a one-year contract extension for $2.9 million on Tuesday, and the task of finding consistency now begins in earnest.

Former Stars first-round pick Val Nichushkin had a banner season with the Colorado Avalanche and is taking an even bigger role in the postseason. That’s great for Nichushkin and a hard lesson for the Stars, who bought out the power winger in 2019 at age 24.

Nichushkin at the time had struggled to fit into the Stars’ system and had no goals among 10 points in 57 games in his last season with Dallas. It was a huge drop from the 34 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 79 games as a rookie. It was a tough decision to send him away, but Dallas needed the cap space to go after free agents (they landed Joe Pavelski), and they also sort of hit the wall in looking for answers to find Nichushkin’s game.

Gurianov was also taken in the first round. Both hail from Russia, and each have challenges because of the differences in style of play and language. Gurianov scored 20 goals among 29 points in 64 games in 2019-20, and then was one of the Stars’ playoff leaders in the Edmonton bubble as he had nine goals among 17 points in 27 games to help Dallas reach the Stanley Cup Final.

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