Oilers trade for Nikitin's rights...

Jason Gregor
June 20 2014 12:36PM

Nikita+Nikitin+Columbus+Blue+Jackets+v+Dallas+x38hyYuohvpl

The Edmonton Oilers have acquired the negotiating rights to pending unrestricted free agent Nikita Nikitin. If they sign him, they will need to give the Blue Jackets a draft pick most likely.

Basically the Oilers got a window of opportunity that allows them to negotiate exclusively with Nikitin. They are able to try and negotiate a contract with him up until July 1st. Starting next Wednesday, other teams can talk to Nikitin, but they can't offer formal contracts.

Scott Howson traded for Nikitin when he was the GM in Columbus, and he knows him well. If the Oilers sign Nikitin before the draft they will surrender a pick this year, but if they sign him after the draft then it will be a pick next year. Either way it will be a late round pick. If they don't sign him, Columbus gets nothing.

At this point it is hard to say where he fits in, but he is likely a #4 or a 3rd pairing guy.


Player  Team  GP  G  A  P +/-  PIM  PPG  PPP  S  TOI/G 
2014 Nikita Nikitin CBJ 66 2 13 15 9 20 0 0 95 17:06
2013 Nikita Nikitin CBJ 38 3 6 9 2 17 1 2 60 21:11
2012 Nikita Nikitin CBJ 54 7 25 32 -5 14 3 9 93 23:34
2012 Nikita Nikitin STL 7 0 0 0 -5 4 0 0 10 20:14
2011 Nikita Nikitin STL 41 1 8 9 1 10 0 4 46 16:23

Two years ago, he played the most minutes and produced the most points.

However, as the Blue Jackets signed better D-men his icetime diminished and he only played 17:06/game this past year. In the playoffs he was the 6th D-man for the Blue Jackets. That doesn't guarantee he'll only be a 6th D-man here, but it suggests he'll need to improve if he wants to play impactful minutes with the Oilers.

The Oilers need some veteran D-men so they don't have to rush their young defenders, and if Nikitin can do that for a season then he'll be a good signing. I'm interested to see the term of his contract. The Oilers can't give him more than three years, and I think two would be ideal, but will he sign for only two years when he is only 28 years old?

Teams usually over pay and give longer terms to UFAs, and if he wants three years, then I'd offer him a lower average salary.

This is how he was deployed, at 5x5, the past three years in Columbus.


Player  GP  TOI%  ZS  OZS%  NZS%  DZS%  ZS%  ZS% rel  OZShr  NZShr  DZSh
2014 Nikita Nikitin 66 32.00% 880 33.60% 31.60% 34.80% 49.20% 1.70% 33.90% 26.00% 32.40%
2013 Nikita Nikitin 38 33.50% 600 28.70% 39.00% 32.30% 47.00% -3.20% 33.50% 37.70% 36.30%
2012 Nikita Nikitin 54 36.40% 850 27.90% 35.30% 36.80% 43.10% -4.30% 36.50% 34.50% 40.60%

He was used more in the offensive zone this past season, when he played fewer minutes, and that is likely due to the emergence of Ryan Murray.

His possession stats from the past three seasons are okay, but not great.


GP  TOI  CF%  CF% rel  FF%  FF% rel  GF  GA  GF%  GF% rel 
2014 66 987 49.20% -1.90% 48.70% -2.30% 39 31 55.70% 4.20%
2013 38 606 46.10% -1.70% 45.80% 0.50% 25 21 54.30% 2.70%
2012 54 910 51.10% 5.70% 52.50% 7.40% 38 39 49.40% 2.90%

In 2012, he had the best CF% of every Jacket's defender, and last year he was third on the team, behind Murray and James Wisniewski. Keep in mind he was playing 3rd line minutes and easier competition than Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson. He played with Tyutin in 2012, and that had a lot to do with his numbers. I see him as a stop-gap #4, and when the Oilers young guys are ready he becomes a 3rd pair defender.

Nikitin had better numbers when he played more minutes, which isn't always the case, and I wonder if part of that was due to him being more into the game. He didn't sit on the bench for long stretches, and for a big guy his body likely stayed warmer and he felt like he was into the game more.

If the Oilers sign him they should expect him to be a four, five or a six, and hopefully he gets paid in that range.

He shoots left, but he can play right or left defence, which makes him more valuable.

At the right price I'd be okay with Nikitin, but no one should expect him to be a top-minute defender.

I'd be surprised the Oilers offer "major money," but I guess it depends what the agent considers major. Interesting tidbit from Aaron Portzline the Blue Jacket's best beat reporter.

PARTING SHOT...

Gary Bettman sent out a memo to every NHL team on Wednesday regarding the free agent interview process. If you recall, last year Bettman told clubs they could not discuss any contract terms or dollars during the interview process. It was a ridiculous thing to say, because it made the interviews pointless.

Many GMs didn't like it, and they expressed their concern to Count Bettman. The commissioner agreed with them and the basis of his memo was that teams can now discuss the parameters of a deal.

"Please be advised that clubs are permitted to discuss the potential interest in as well as general parameters of a potential future contractual relationship with another club’s pending RFA or UFA during the applicable interview periods. The clubs may not enter any agreements or make any binding offers, promises, … oral or written concerning the terms of a potential SPC (standard players contract) with another club’s pending RFA or UFA.”

That was the gist of Bettman's memo according to Mike Russo.

It makes sense, but it is ridiculous to expect teams not to enter into any verbal talks about a potential deal. Two years ago I had drinks with an agent after the NHL draft, and he told me that two of his clients had already been to an NHL city, spoke to the GM and discussed contracts. Both of those deals were announced in the first two days of free agency, with the exact figures the agent had told me over drinks.

It is ludicrous for the commissioner to think teams, agents and players won't discuss the exacts details of a contract, however, this new format does make it more fair than it was before when certain teams weren't afraid to break the rules.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 bazmagoo
June 21 2014, 03:26AM
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@SmythforMayor

Agreed, the Ference contract didn't look too smart last season. Our highest paid defenseman is a 3rd pairing dude, that's not going to lead to anything successful. In my mind there's quite a bit of pressure on Ference, likely mostly self imposed. You can guarantee him and Boychuk played together for significant minutes, that familiarity and experience could win us a few games next season.

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#102 Sammy
June 21 2014, 05:49AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Giving up any asset for a bottom pair UFA that was replaced by nick Shultz is desperation

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#103 camdog
June 21 2014, 08:54AM
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Nikitin, averaged 7th on Blue Jackets in minutes per game for d-man that played significant minutes. Looks like he is Belov's potential replacement on the team.

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#104 TigerUnderGlass
June 21 2014, 09:24AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

No way he signs anything before Free agency begins. There needn't be a hurry to get a deal done for a definite B level defenceman.

Oilers should be hammering away on Garth Snow for that 5th selection. Landing both Bennett and Draisaitl is a far greater need.

In your mind has there ever been a season where having two top picks was not an absolute necessity?

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#105 TigerUnderGlass
June 21 2014, 09:26AM
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Sammy wrote:

Giving up any asset for a bottom pair UFA that was replaced by nick Shultz is desperation

The question isn't, "was he replaced by Nick Schultz," it's, "should he have been replaced by Nick Schultz."

I don't believe for one second that he is worse than Schultz.

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#106 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 09:52AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

In your mind has there ever been a season where having two top picks was not an absolute necessity?

No. Certainly not since ownership and management stopped caring.

Clearly they should have listened to me. This perhaps has a lot to do with why a playoff appearance is still 5 yrs away.

Taylor and Tyler

Landeskog and RNH

Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk

Bennett and Draisaitl

It's all wandering in the desert, till our billionaire owner stops shopping at Value Village.

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#107 Thumby
June 21 2014, 10:00AM
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pkam wrote:

It is unfair to compare Nikitin to Fraser.

Fraser is making 1.275M and will get less next year.

Nikitin is making 2.5M this year and will probably get more next year.

Because that's what they are worth as hockey players...I'd rather have Nikitin at whatever his fair rate is vs Fraser for free.

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#108 Will
June 21 2014, 10:15AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

"I could live with that group. Nik-Schultz would be your top pp, marincin-petry would be your 2nd pp and 2nd pk unit. Ference-Boychuk would be the shut-down pairing and top pk unit."

That could possibly be competitive.

Wonder if Boychuk could possibly be lobbying to get out of Boston. With Chara getting older, the prospects in Beantown for the future aren't really all that bright. Ference is having an epic time being captain and being such an involved community person, maybe Boychuk wants to experience that as well. How about Gagner for Boychuk? Would be good for both teams but we'd probably have to eat some salary though.

That trade would not work. The only reason Boychuck might be available is because Boston can replace him, and is currently up against the cap with needs to resign players like Iginla. The only way you get Boychuck out is with a prospect that costs much much less.

I actually don't think it would take much to get him out of Boston as it's one of those salary dump trades that teams hate doing. This could be this year's Perron type deal.

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#109 michael
June 21 2014, 10:38AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

No. Certainly not since ownership and management stopped caring.

Clearly they should have listened to me. This perhaps has a lot to do with why a playoff appearance is still 5 yrs away.

Taylor and Tyler

Landeskog and RNH

Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk

Bennett and Draisaitl

It's all wandering in the desert, till our billionaire owner stops shopping at Value Village.

Clearly you know more about player development than Stu and company.How is it your not running our draft.Or Maggie the monkey? Why?Because hindsight is always 100% and makes people look good after the fact rather than when the descision has to be made.

I'll be happy with whoever they choose or not choose.

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#110 madjam
June 21 2014, 10:45AM
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Survey : Will/should the Oilers go after Vanek ? Cheers for yes , trash for no . Oilers tried to get him once before as I recall .

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#111 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 10:50AM
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michael wrote:

Clearly you know more about player development than Stu and company.How is it your not running our draft.Or Maggie the monkey? Why?Because hindsight is always 100% and makes people look good after the fact rather than when the descision has to be made.

I'll be happy with whoever they choose or not choose.

"Stu and company" have been in charge since 2007.

7 yrs later, the Oilers are still a 28th place hockey club. Even you, or your Maggy the monkey could've done a better job than that.

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#112 madjam
June 21 2014, 10:54AM
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Survey 2 : Who would be best bet for Oilers to Add : D.Murray for cheers , or J.Boychuk for trash ?

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#113 pkam
June 21 2014, 11:00AM
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Thumby wrote:

Because that's what they are worth as hockey players...I'd rather have Nikitin at whatever his fair rate is vs Fraser for free.

One is a #7 and one is a #4. How can you afford 3M+ on a #7? Are we not in the salary cap era anymore?

If Nikitin is willing to sign for around 1M, I'll take him over Fraser any day. Not a big fan of Smid but I'll take Smid for around 1M any day.

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#114 oilerbuff
June 21 2014, 11:08AM
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@camdog

nikitin is a puck moving d-man. a little on the defensively irresponsible side so Ramsey will have to try n shape.him up a bit. he does hit but could be.more aggressive considering his size, doesn't get a lot of penalty minutes. he showed some good offensive potential before being bumped down.the.depth.chart. I think he could get the shot of living more up to his offensive potential in Edmonton. I think it's a definite upgrade over Belov. I like the pick up. costs nothing if we can't sign him. costs next to nothing if we can. worth a shot

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#115 Thumby
June 21 2014, 11:32AM
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pkam wrote:

One is a #7 and one is a #4. How can you afford 3M+ on a #7? Are we not in the salary cap era anymore?

If Nikitin is willing to sign for around 1M, I'll take him over Fraser any day. Not a big fan of Smid but I'll take Smid for around 1M any day.

If I recall correctly, smid was 3.5 mil and a zero offence contributor... Nikitin>smid and nikitin is a number 2atleast on our current D. Yes we can afford 3+ on him if term is correct. You really should have known...

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#116 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 11:35AM
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Beggars can't be choosers.

If Nikitin is the only poor mans top pairing blueliner who'll come here, then definitely no longer than a 3 yr deal.

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#117 Sorensenator
June 21 2014, 12:38PM
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camdog wrote:

Nikitin, averaged 7th on Blue Jackets in minutes per game for d-man that played significant minutes. Looks like he is Belov's potential replacement on the team.

Nikitin had a ridiculous season 3 years ago with 32 points in only 54 games and looked like the next big thing in Columbus. Since then his play has dropped off as his minutes. When you have Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson, and Ryan Murray ahead of you in the depth chart, it is pretty difficult to get minutes and regular power play time.

He will be a nice addition with the Oilers if he signs.

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#118 Sorensenator
June 21 2014, 12:58PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

"Stu and company" have been in charge since 2007.

7 yrs later, the Oilers are still a 28th place hockey club. Even you, or your Maggy the monkey could've done a better job than that.

You would think 7 years of new scouting would bring in better players. It did, however, at the expense of a couple 30th place finishes. (Hall, Nuge) The Oilers are just climbing out of the dark draft ditch that plagued them for years. They picked Marc Pouliot in 2003 when virtually every team in the NHL got a good player in the first round. The Oilers have nobody still in the system from those days - now that Hemsky is gone.

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#119 Sammy
June 21 2014, 01:00PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

The question isn't, "was he replaced by Nick Schultz," it's, "should he have been replaced by Nick Schultz."

I don't believe for one second that he is worse than Schultz.

I doubt he's much better

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#120 Sammy
June 21 2014, 01:03PM
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I think people are confusing Nikitin with Niskanin. Nikitin is not a #4 defenceman. He's a 6/7

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#121 Serious Gord
June 21 2014, 01:23PM
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Yet another acquisition - or at least an attempt at one - where there is a connection to the organization already. It almost as if it's a rule that no strangers are allowed in.

And it almost happens often enough to be made into a drinking game.

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#122 Reds
June 21 2014, 06:51PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

No. Certainly not since ownership and management stopped caring.

Clearly they should have listened to me. This perhaps has a lot to do with why a playoff appearance is still 5 yrs away.

Taylor and Tyler

Landeskog and RNH

Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk

Bennett and Draisaitl

It's all wandering in the desert, till our billionaire owner stops shopping at Value Village.

If management listened to you, somehow the team would be in a bigger hole than before.

Because keep tanking for picks and putting young guys right in the spotlight has worked so well for the Oilers these past few years.

We don't need more high end picks. We need more capable NHL players.

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#123 TigerUnderGlass
June 21 2014, 07:03PM
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Sammy wrote:

I doubt he's much better

I don't.

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#124 Quicksilver ballet
June 21 2014, 11:42PM
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@Reds

We don't need more high end picks. We need more capable NHL players.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

There are actual players literally beating down the doors to get here, are there? Nobody has heard the words, thanks, but no thanks more than Edmontons management group.

Like it or not, these kids are the only hope Edmonton will ever have at having "capable NHL players". What part of this don't you understand? Don't be too taken aback now that Nikitin, a bottom pairing blueliner on a good team has also said no to MacTavish.

Just open your wallet and the actual NHL players will flood this market, yeah right. Like it or not, more kids is the only option available to this market. Till there's something here that actually resembles an NHL team anyways.

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#125 Oilers
June 22 2014, 11:08PM
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More recycled NHL garbage. When will we learn. Oh it's been 9 years. Never..

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#126 LOIL99
June 23 2014, 10:41AM
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Soooooo....what happened to "not bringing in any mid-range dmen and letting the kids play instead"??

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#127 LOIL00
June 23 2014, 11:02AM
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RexHolez wrote:

Sounds good. Too bad hockey's played on the ice and not inside a calculator

Personality profile for Rex...

-drives jacked up pick-up. -has Monster Energy sticker on said pick-up. -wears Tap Out shirt and gold chain to the bar. -refers to his office as The Patch. -highest education is H2S training. -parks RV worth more than his house on his lawn.

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