29-Year-Old Defenseman – Edmonton Oilers
Nikita Nikitin Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Oilers in June of 2014.
Nikitin was reassigned to AHL Bakersfield on Thursday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Nikitin was acquired from the Blue Jackets this past June to provide the Oilers with experience on the back end. He won't light up the scoreboard with goals or assists, but should provide leadership to a young defensive crew and stabilize life in the Oilers defensive zone. Hey -- his goalies will love him and that's important to their success. But the harsh reality is this -- he probably wouldn't be any better than a number four, or perhaps number five guy on a good team. Do not overrate.
Nikitin wasn't able to repeat his breakout 2011-12 season, looking more like the inconsistent player the Blues gave up on, and the dropoff had to be at least partially due to not being partnered with the unflappable Fedor Tyutin. With young defensemen like Tim Erixon and Ryan Murray pushing for ice time, Nikitin will need to rebound if he wants to keep a regular shift.
Nikitin was surprisingly effective in Columbus after failing to get much of a chance the last couple of seasons with the Blues, scoring seven goals and 32 points in just 54 games. He'll join Fedor Tyutin on the second blue line pairing and power play unit, but given the lack of talent up front for the Blue Jackets, Nikitin will be lucky to break the 30-point mark again over a full campaign. Remember him in keeper leagues, but be fully aware that Nikitin is prone to streaks.
Nikitin came over from Russia in the 2010 offseason and was playing his way onto the roster in training camp when he suffered a wrist injury. Once healthy, he was on the St. Louis-to-Peoria shuttle before sticking with the Blues for the final two and a half months. He skated his way to a plus-1 and was sixth on the team in blocked shots despite playing just 41 games and operating mostly as a seventh defenseman. The Blues love his size, but thereís little in the way of fantasy value here. Heíll compete with Ian Cole and Kent Huskins for the final two blue line spots, but itís likely the Blues would like to get Cole more playing time in the AHL, so look for Nikitin to make the roster when camp breaks.
The Blues finally bring Nikitin to North America, where he'll have a chance to compete for one of the final two spots at defense for St. Louis. The 2004 draft pick will need to acclimate to a smaller ice surface, but he's got a ton of experience in Russia with great size on the blue line. A start to his North American career in Peoria is likely, but he's in the organization's plans and will eventually get a spot on the major league roster.