Oilers sign Nikitin

Jason Gregor
June 25 2014 08:51AM

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The Oilers signed Nikita Nikitin to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million/year. Will the price tag is a little high, but the Oilers aren't in a cap crunch and it was worth it to sign him for a bit more money for only two years. This will allow the Oilers to develop Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse slowly rather than rush their development.

What does this signing signify?

  • It means Craig MacTavish and the Oilers recognize they are a few years away from being a real contender. They will never admit that, nor should they, but a two year deal gives them a lot of flexibility for the future and it allows them to improve in the short term. Nikitin is much better than Anton Belov, Mark Fraser, Philip Larsen, Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov. I know that isn't saying much, but he will improve their blueline and he should be motivated to what to play well enough so that in two years he can sign a new contract worth the same money.

  • This has no bearing on Jeff Petry or Justin Schultz. Both of them are restricted free agents, and if they elected to file for arbitration they wouldn't be able to use Nikitin's contract as a comparable because he was an unrestricted free agent.

    I don't see why the Oilers need sign Petry or Schultz for more than two years. At this point no one knows how good they will be, or conversely, if they've reached their peak. Of course the Oilers and players hope they will improve, but why overpay them now for a "best case scenario."

    I could see the Oilers signing both of them for just under $6 million/year combined. Petry made $1.8 million last year, while Schultz's base salary was $925,000. Signing Petry for $2.8-$3 mill/season and Schultz for $2.4-$2.6 million/year would be reasonable and fair. There is a risk that Petry could walk as a free agent at the end of his two year deal, but for me it is worth it to give him a bridge deal and see how he continues to develop.

    The Oilers need to start taking advantage of the negotiations when they have more leverage than the player.

  • Even with Nikitin's new contract, the Oilers still have $20 million in cap space if they want to use it. Today they have have 17 players signed

    Eleven forwards: Hall, RNH, Eberle, Perron, Gagner, Yakupov, Hendricks, Gordon, Joenssu, Arcobello and Lander.

    Four D-men: Nikitin, Ference, Marincin and Klefbom

    Two goalies: Fasth and Scrivens.

    After they sign Petry and Schultz they should still have around $14 million. They could spend that on a two UFA forwards and another defenceman.

  • I think we all agree that Nikitin got more money than he was worth, but the risk is low because of the term, but that is the harsh reality of being a perennial losing organization. Players won't flock here unless you overpay, and at least the Oilers didn't sign him for three or four years at that price tag. I don't expect him to fix the Oilers blueline, far from it, but he has more experience than Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse combined.

    Nikitin is a top-four D-man on an average to below average NHL team, and right now that is what the Oilers are. In two years, if the young defenders develop into the players the Oilers expect them to be then Nikitin likely takes a pay cut to play on the third pairing or doesn't return.

  • He was playing behind James Wisniewski, Fedor Tyutin, Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray in Columbus. The Oilers blueline doesn't boast the same talent level. Nikitin will be a top four here, and he will be an improvement. You can look at his numbers when he played top-four minutes in 2012 and 2013 and he was a decent defender.

  • This isn't the sexy signing that some were hoping for, but I never expected the Oilers to grab the top UFA players, so I'm okay with this signing. I think the term of the deal makes it easier to stomach and I think this improves the Oilers right now.

  • Essentially the Oilers traded Nick Schultz, at the end of his $3.5 million deal, for a 5th round pick, and then gave that pick back to Columbus for two years of Nikitin at $4.5. Nikitin still has room to improve, while Schultz was on his last legs. This signing isn't great, but it isn't awful and it doesn't limit the Oilers ability to make other moves.

  • He also can play the point on the PP. He has a heavy shot and he shoots left, which is something the Oilers need.

  • What do you think of the deal?

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    Avatar
    #151 pkam
    June 25 2014, 01:39PM
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    ed in edmonton wrote:

    The price for Petry would be 4 ish mill plus RFA compensation vs Nikuitin case where it is just the money. An equivalent UFA will always get more than a RFA. Unless a home town discount comes into play.

    So you think O'Reilly worth more than 6.5M in UFA market last year?

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    #152 oilerjed
    June 25 2014, 01:41PM
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    pkam wrote:

    If we are getting better with Nikitin now, weren't we getting much worse with Smid traded then?

    Isn't this called 2 steps backward and 1 step forward?

    Are you still arguing against the Smid trade from last year?? Get over it already. We understand you dont agree with anybody on here. Move On!

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    #153 BLAKPOO
    June 25 2014, 01:43PM
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    pkam wrote:

    If we are getting better with Nikitin now, weren't we getting much worse with Smid traded then?

    Isn't this called 2 steps backward and 1 step forward?

    They're not the same transaction.. you can't compare them.

    It's like saying we're not a better team if we sign Joe Thornton because we traded Mark Messier once.

    Were we much worse after Smid left? Not really. We had other just as useless flotsam to fill the gaps. And we snagged Brossoit - who potentially could be our #1 here.

    If you absolutely need to make a comparison, we traded Nick Schultz for Nikitin.

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    #154 Dockstaff
    June 25 2014, 02:29PM
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    pkam wrote:

    Then how does Nikitin prove himself? As far as I know, his TOI has been gradually reduced, he has been moved from 2nd pairing to 3rd pairing and he has been scratched this season. And BJ do not prepared to re-sign him and let him walk UFA. Am I correct?

    Nikitin has already proven himself as a capable, top 4D, and is clearly better than our current corps save Ference and a tie with Petry.

    His TOI has reduced because Columbus signed better players and Murray (good SK boy by the way!) is progressing really well. They have several NHL calibre Dmen, we have 2. Columbus gave Pitts a run for their money this year, Edm couldn't come close.

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    #155 Mike Modano's Dog
    June 25 2014, 02:30PM
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    I like this deal. Simply put the oilers get Better on D with only giving up a fifth.

    Is this great for the Oilers - no, maybe not...but a real player on the back end in his prime for a fifth is awesome. Thank God it's a two year deal only though so we will have cap flexibility when we need it down the road.

    A 28 yr old Nikitin instead of Scultz the elder is one move in the right direction, now we need a lot more!

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    #156 pkam
    June 25 2014, 02:35PM
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    BLAKPOO wrote:

    They're not the same transaction.. you can't compare them.

    It's like saying we're not a better team if we sign Joe Thornton because we traded Mark Messier once.

    Were we much worse after Smid left? Not really. We had other just as useless flotsam to fill the gaps. And we snagged Brossoit - who potentially could be our #1 here.

    If you absolutely need to make a comparison, we traded Nick Schultz for Nikitin.

    I still remember how positive Oilers fans were when we trade Gilbert for N. Schultz. With that trade, we at least save 0.5M a year and one year less left in the contract.

    I hope I am over worry and this turns out better.

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    #157 steveb12344
    June 25 2014, 02:39PM
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    pkam wrote:

    I haven't watched Nikitin play so I am skeptical about how good he is. From what I heard, he is a 4/5 D in most NHL team, kind of like Smid (may be slightly better).

    Then why do we trade away Smid? Isn't he a 4/5 NHL D playing 1st pairing with Petry here for the last 2-3 years? So we get rid of 3.5M so we can sign another 4/5 D at 4.5M? Are we really that much better with him than with Smid?

    If he is not better than Smid, what is his trade value? Smid didn't get us much, did he?

    This signing just reminds me of the Gilbert/Schultz trade. The fans get excited every time we have a new toy then get disappointed again at the end.

    Smid and Nikitin are not the same!

    Ladi's best boxcars season was 11/12 He was 5g 10a 15p in 78 gp

    Niki's best was also in 11/12 He was 7g 25a 32p in 54gp

    career, Nik is 13-52-65 +2 in 206gp

    Smid is 12-59-71 -49 in 530gp

    Nik has an offensive upside that Smid has never dreamt of.

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    #158 SRELIOFAN
    June 25 2014, 02:59PM
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    Honestly, I don't see why we should care about overpaying a player to come here as long as he is a veteran who improves our team. It's not like we are the ones paying him 4.5 Mil every year... And cap space isn't an issue. So who cares!

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    #159 Ed in Edmonton
    June 25 2014, 04:28PM
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    pkam wrote:

    So you think O'Reilly worth more than 6.5M in UFA market last year?

    I think it is likely the Shames would have been willing to go beyond 6.5M (if they had to) if there was no compensation involved.

    It logical to assume that in the case where the asset costs you $ plus other assets versus just $, you can up the $ part.

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    #160 pkam
    June 25 2014, 05:15PM
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    Ed in Edmonton wrote:

    I think it is likely the Shames would have been willing to go beyond 6.5M (if they had to) if there was no compensation involved.

    It logical to assume that in the case where the asset costs you $ plus other assets versus just $, you can up the $ part.

    Not just the Shames, but the Avs as they match the offersheet. So what make you think Petry will not fetch 4.5M or more if O'Reilly can fetch 6.5M. All you need is just one crazy team. Did anyone here think Nitikin will get 4.5M before the announcement? How about Gaborik get 4.875M per year for another 7 years?

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    #161 Fresh Mess
    June 25 2014, 06:16PM
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    SRELIOFAN wrote:

    Honestly, I don't see why we should care about overpaying a player to come here as long as he is a veteran who improves our team. It's not like we are the ones paying him 4.5 Mil every year... And cap space isn't an issue. So who cares!

    It blows me away that I keep reading variations of this comment on this site.

    "It's not like we are the ones paying him..."

    Clearly you haven't followed the saga of this team's ownership demands over the years.

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    #162 Danoilerfanincalgary
    June 25 2014, 06:59PM
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    Our team is a little bit better today with Nikitin's addition. He is clearly a better player than any of the 5 guys that have departed, a small step but a necessary one. I for one don't miss Smid the guy could not make a first pass if his life depended on it and his best attribute was sacrificing his body to block a shot.

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    #163 SRELIOFAN
    June 25 2014, 09:10PM
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    Fresh Mess wrote:

    It blows me away that I keep reading variations of this comment on this site.

    "It's not like we are the ones paying him..."

    Clearly you haven't followed the saga of this team's ownership demands over the years.

    Then let me rephrase that... I'M not the one paying him 4.5 Mil a year because I'm just a lowly tier 2 fan.

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    #164 Reach Advantage
    June 25 2014, 09:35PM
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    I like that he gets shots on net. We need more of that from the D to generate offence.

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    #165 RexHolez
    June 25 2014, 10:33PM
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    SRELIOFAN wrote:

    Honestly, I don't see why we should care about overpaying a player to come here as long as he is a veteran who improves our team. It's not like we are the ones paying him 4.5 Mil every year... And cap space isn't an issue. So who cares!

    Ever buy an oilers jersey? Or a hat? Or a ticket to the game?? We are paying his salary

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    #166 Mujidog
    June 25 2014, 11:31PM
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    I like this deal. Nikitin will help us. MacT still has lots of work to do this summer.

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