Nikita Nikitin is going nowhere

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Everyone hoping that Nikita Nikitin would just quietly disappear to Russia will simply have to get used to disappointment. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the 29-year-old defenceman will be staying in the Oilers’ system after all.

“There were rumours this week that Edmonton’s Nikita Nikitin may go back to Russia instead of playing in the American Hockey League,” said Friedman in Saturday’s “Headlines” segment of Hockey Night in Canada, “That’s not the case; he is staying.”

So is this good news or bad news? It really depends on how our readers feel about safeguarding every penny of Daryl Katz’s money possible.

Pros & Cons

Peter Chiarelli2

If Peter Chiarelli can be taken at his word, one of the major benefits of this is that the Oilers will retain a legitimate NHL defenceman that they can recall at any point.

“He’ll go down and he’ll get his game back, he’ll play,” Chiarelli said regarding Nikitin on October 5, “He’s an NHL defenceman, notwithstanding what everyone’s views and perceptions are here. His game isn’t quite where it should be and he’ll get his chance in the minors.”

Depth is never a bad thing to have for an NHL team; Oilers fans will remember a few years back when people like Bryan Young and Sebastian Bisaillon were getting recalled because of injuries on the blue line. It’s not a terrible thing to have Nikitin has a reserve option, particularly if the assignment to the AHL serves as a kick in the pants.

The flip side of this is that when Nikitin plays down on the farm he’s going to take minutes away from a prospect, but even that’s not a big deal at the moment. Nick Pageau is currently playing a third-pair role for the Condors, and he’s a 27-year-old on an AHL-only deal who spent most of the last two years in the ECHL. Making him a healthy scratch really isn’t a big deal.

My understanding of the CBA – and, as always, I am really not a lawyer – is that there’s no salary cap benefit to sending Nikitin overseas. Article 11.19 of the CBA indicates that some salary commitments may be relieved by a loan to Europe, but the Oilers weren’t going to get a KHL team to take on $4.5 million in salary obligations and if they have to keep paying Nikitin it has to keep counting against the cap. Article 50.5 paragraph B(6) would also seem to suggest that the cap hit rules are the same for the KHL as the AHL (i.e. any salary exceeding the league minimum plus $375,000 counts against the cap).

Essentially, what this comes down to is that from a hockey perspective there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to allowing Nikitin to leave; it won’t clear cap space and it just subtracts a player who might at some point be able to help by providing depth. From a financial perspective, getting a European club to cover a portion of Nikitin’s salary would obviously have value, but it’s hard to imagine a team willing to cover enough of it that this would be a major incentive.

  • Mason Storm

    My question is. IF Nikitin refused to play in Bakersfield. Would his salary still count against the cap?

    Obviously it’s hard to see a scenario where he walks away from $4.5 mill. But what if he did?

      • Mason Storm

        My point with this is this.

        1) Say Nikitin has been told by Omsk(i think is the team?) that they want to sign him to a 3 year deal at $2 Mill/per.

        2) Say Nikitin and his family are dying to return to his motherland.

        3) Say he’s got too much pride to play in Bakersfield.

        4) The Cost of living, the tax breaks, the idea of returning home could all be a positive for him and his family.

        All of this “could” sway him to walk away from his contract. I get it it’s far fetched. My question still is would this give the Oilers $4.5 million more in cap space? Or are they on the hook no matter what?

  • Mason Storm

    Anybody else finding McDavid being really tentative? I watched his games in juniors and he wasn’t like that. He seems to be waiting for the play to develop. It’s something that surprises me. I think he just isn’t comfortable out there yet seeing it’s only the 2nd game but he doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to where he can play. I think he is used to passing the puck thinking it’s going to come straight back to him. Needs a goal and then the pressure will be somewhat relieved. We need nikitan in the line up so he can feed connor passes. Hahahhahahha. I couldn’t keep a straight face while typing that. Seriously, he should be seventh d-man on the condors team .

    • #97TRAIN

      A few reasons he might be off to a slow start . 1. He only played 4 exhibitions I believe to get into game shape and familiarity with line mates . That’s a lot to expect of any newbie to get comfortable with that small sample . 2. All the hype in new buildings mean the opposition will in all likelihood be playing their best not to get outshone by such a talent . He is targeted just like his line mates for now . No sneaking in and getting teams knapping or taking us lightly anymore in early season . 3. He is still in process of adapting and is uncomfortable for now , which is expected , but his comfort level will improve and his entire game will evolve . That might even come next game . 4. We have not gotten any scoring from rest of squad and he requires subsidiary scoring to happen when he is not scoring , or still adapting to NHL .If team starts to break out scoring I am pretty sure he will be part of that breakout , but lets hope it is more than just McDavid doing so .

  • BobbyCanuck

    Speaking of Nitkinen…Can someone please explain why that bum Howson still plays some sort of role in the organization? We were led to believe that Bob N. cleaned house yet all 3 of “Moe, Larry, and Curly” all still have corner offices.
    ONLY IN EDMONTON where cronyism runs like bad sewer into our drinking water. Why the first game in St. Louis the camera pans to who? Wouldn’t you know whose sitting in the box with Bob. Good ol’ 6 rings and his arrogant mug. The nightmare that never ends. Part of me thinks no matter what good things come here, the impermeable stench of those 3 idiots will forever keep us on the outside looking in. Would just one reporter with a pair of nuts please examine the roles, salaries, and term that the 3 stooges are being retained with. AGGGHHH

  • Mason Storm

    one day Nikitin, Purcell and Ference’s contract’s will be up and they will no longer be holding this team down. But even better yet, one day Lowe, MacT and Howson will no longer be around poisoning the managment staff and signing contracts like this!

    Sekera, please don’t become the next one, you got 5 years after this and I don’t even wanna think about it

  • dach3569

    “Our language, our approach to the game isn’t a lot different than most teams” says Todd McC today.
    What is different is your results and true effort continue to make you a record tying non-playoff team again this year. Continuing to be the worst team in the NHL for 10 years! Crappy contracts from the new managements is their continued approach.
    Klefbum and Suckera are Nikitin 2.0 and 3.0.
    Make these bums earn it like Schultz and Babcock’s approach.These 2 new contracts will suck for the next 6 years. Moron Management is the status quo.

    • dach3569

      A 20th overall pick with heart, determination and shorter more realistic contract will vastly out-perform our lazy, overpaid and extended first overall picks. Look at Larkin and Detroit as a model!!!Larkin will exceed McDavid in that environment, watch!

      • Mason Storm

        Dude, you forgot to change your username when you replied to your own comment haha, that’s trolling 101. You also used “we” when referring to the Oilers, you are not an Oiler, or even a fan. Ps. Good job being the only person to like both your posts.

    • paul wodehouse

      …who’s Todd McC? … when you are trying to make a point …try to make it right …at least the spelling part…with your type you certainly don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good FAIL!

      Make these bums earn it like Schultz and Babcock’s approach…what does that even mean?

      …then you comment to yourself @dach3456…bringing your take with some Detroit player who’s going to do what? and where?…so much bluster and hot air and none of it says much of anything …why are you even here? be good at trolling if you’re going be a troll…your ego has ‘shirley’ gotten the better of you…Shirley

  • BlazingSaitls

    “Nikita Nikitin is going nowhere”

    I don’t know if you’re talking about his hockey career or his living situation, or both. I’ll assume both.

    Damn you MacT, goddamn you all to hell!

  • Mason Storm

    Gregor reported this on October 6th on twitter…

    “Source tells me #Oilers plan on having Nikitin in AHL. Have no plans to loan to KHL.”

    This is old news. Already reported by a Nation writer.

  • paul wodehouse

    Jaross said…”Anybody else finding McDavid being really tentative? I watched his games in juniors and he wasn’t like that. He seems to be waiting for the play to develop. It’s something that surprises me. I think he just isn’t comfortable out there yet seeing it’s only the 2nd game but he doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to where he can play. I think he is used to passing the puck thinking it’s going to come straight back to him. Needs a goal and then the pressure will be somewhat relieved…”

    My take is that his teammates are afraid of him and are desperately tentative…they have all been exposed to the hype and are unwilling to settle down and stop clinching the stick so hard…there WILL be a light bulb moment in the near future…he’s a very humble 18year old right? many should think of who they were when THEY were 18 when you couldn’t do much of anything unless you had a couple beers in your belly to gumption up! I saw him play a few times in junior too and he WAS the man but not until his mates could start to keep up to him…he’s going to be unreal…you know it !

  • Oil City Roller

    I am fully convinced that Karma will not allow the Oilers to have any success as long as Katz, Lowe, MacT and Howson are still here. They display the ultimate examples of hubris and disdain for those they deem to be lesser than they. They have no respect for the fans of the City and truly believe they are smarter than the ignorant plebs. That’s why I have not bought a ticket to a game or merchandise for years. I refuse to support those that openly mock and ridicule the fans. I know in the grand scheme of things my protest won’t change anything but I don’t care. The Oilers will be the laughing stock of the NHL as long as those clowns are around.

    • Oil City Roller

      I won’t defend Lowe or Howson at all. I will defend macT because he was a great coach and he never really had anytime to be GM. Although I agree that during his tenure there was a lot to be desired. However, saying Katz is an issue is not using your head. He took too long to supplant Lowe but other than that is a saviour for the oilers. Before his money there were bottle drives to keep the oilers in the city. Do you remember when we lost all our good players because we couldn’t afford them? Now we have an owner who is willing to pay to the cap. He has one of the most expensive staffs in the league, he will have one of the most advanced rinks in the league(world). He brought in Nicholson who is the best hockey ceo in hockey and a top GM. Yes he made the stupid Seattle trip but I still believe that wasn’t intended to pressure fans but to pressure the government to step up. Don’t complain about Katz. He’s about as good as any option in the league.

      • Oil City Roller

        Just like to add, before Katz there was no farm system. Before 2010 the Oilers did not have a farm team now they have 2. That was the number 1 cause of the failure of the Oilers the last 9 years. You can all blame who ever you want but this is the truth

    • Jason Gregor

      it is becoming quite bad.

      I find myself wondering why there are replies to these trolls. Pretty well everyone knows that’s just feeding them.

      If you have to reply, why not simply reply ‘troll’ ?

      • BobbyCanuck

        Oh come on man, ON finds the trolls fun to play with.

        I do not feed the trolls, a click on the ‘Trash It’ is sufficicent for me. Sometimes I respond to offer clarification if I feel my post may have been ambigious. Sometimes my thoughts are civily corrected by some of our more cerebral members. Its all good.

        Most of the trolls are from teams that have never won the cup or just won one cup, and deep in thier heart of hearts they all know we will win another one before they do.

        If I was a life long Flames or Canucks fan, I would be pissed too. 5 Cups, Wayne and Mark, and now we have McDavid, yeah I would be pissed beyond belief.

        Anicdote: 5 yrs ago, my bud in Cowtown took his 4 yr old decked out in an Oiler jersy to a game, Flame fans were actually coming up to him and the lad hurling insults, slagging them on a personal level…stay classy Flames fans

  • Oil City Roller

    Don’t worry about McDavid. As soon as the team responds to Todd M and executes his system the team will get better and so will McDavid.

    Also Hall and McDavid didn’t click so that set him back. The coaching staff and any many fans thought it was worth a try and so did I.

  • #97TRAIN

    I have been an Oilers fan for over 30 years and I am tired of everybody (MSM, Bloggers and fans) stating that the Oilers are a talented offensive team.

    To date, despite having young players like Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Draisaitl, Yakupov and McDavid, the Oilers have had problems scoring goals. They have not been winning or losing games by a 6-5 score, they have been getting shut down and shut out.

    I fully support the Toddler and what he is doing with the lineup but there is still a long way to go. Patience is still required.

  • Oil City Roller

    Dude you can lump me in wherever you want. Believe it or not I am a fan of the Oilers. I have been since I was a kid. I want to see them win. What I can’t stand is someone, whether it’s MacT, Lowe, or someone like you tells me that even though the Oilers keep losing they are actually right where they are supposed to be and I’m just too dumb to get it. Maybe I am an idiot but it seems simple, when you finish at the bottom of the league for nearly a decade there is a problem. When the people that put you there are still employed there is a problem. When you have four number one draft picks and can’t score a goal in six periods there is a problem.

  • Mason Storm

    MacT and Lowe are only currently employed because the are friends with Katz. They have no say, let alone any power over who the teams plays, trades for or signs. Chiarelli, McLellan and Nicholson are calling all the shots. Anything the other guys say falls on deaf ears

  • #97TRAIN

    I’ve been reading your posts in here for the last while and they are full negativity and totally derogatory towards the team . I have not read 1 positive thing about this team yet.
    The goaltending has been outstanding. The compete level has been at the top. The team play and toughness can’t be questioned. The system has been implemented and looks like they are following it for 60 minutes.
    Lots of changes have been made and it looks like for the better . The new management has only been here a few months and we just finished our first two games against two top teams. With any luck we could have won one or both.
    Maybe try not to be so miserable. There are lots of positive things cheer about.

    Quit living in the past. Move on . If you don’t like the product , it’s simple DONT WATCH!!