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Nikita Pavlychev Signs One-Year Contract With AHL’s Syracuse Crunch

Former Penn State hockey forward Nikita Pavlychev will officially start his professional career with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

The Crunch — the minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning — signed the 6’7″ center to a one-year contract Tuesday morning.

Before arriving in Happy Valley in 2016, Pavlychev was taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. This past Sunday, though, the Penguins relinquished their rights to the Nittany Lion and made him an unrestricted free agent.

The Yaroslavl, Russia native enjoyed a productive career under Guy Gadowsky. Pavlychev skated in 137 games over the course of four seasons, and leaves Happy Valley with 70 career points and 36 career goals. The powerful forward made several highlight plays over the course of his college career, including a gorgeous goal against Notre Dame in 2018 that earned him the top spot on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.

While his senior season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pavlychev still managed seven goals and seven assists in 27 games played. He now finishes his time at Penn State with 12 power-play goals, the fifth-most all-time for a Nittany Lion.

Pavlychev now joins several other Penn Staters who managed to sign pro contracts after their college careers finished. Star goaltender Peyton Jones signed with the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate this past May, while Brandon Biro, Nate Sucese, and Liam Folkes all signed professional deals over the past few months.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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