In a move that might signal the start of the NHL Trade season, the Montreal Canadiens have acquired defenceman Nikita Nesterov from the Tampa Bay Lightning. In return, Tampa Bay receives defenseman Jonathan Racine and a 6th round pick in 2017. The trade came moments prior to the start of the Canadiens game with the New York Islanders.
Nesterov is a left-handed defenceman who can play both sides, and provides immediate depth to a Montreal blueline that has been without Andrei Markov and Greg Pateryn due to injuries. A former fifth-round pick of Tampa Bay, Nesterov has recorded 8 goals and 20 assists in 119 games with the Lightning. According to CapFriendly, Nesterov carries a cap hit of $725,000 this season and will be a restricted free agent in July.
Racine was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers. He played one game for the Panthers during the 2013-14 season before being traded to Montreal on Oct. 8, 2016. This season he has played 26 games with the St. John’s IceCaps, recording three assists and 58 penalty minutes.
There had been some rumors week that Nesterov was wanting to return to Russia after the season, but his agent later denied those rumors.
Some thoughts from the media …
Tony Marinaro: “Got to hand it to Marc Bergevin. Acquired an NHL player who is: Young (23), cheap ($725k), Versatile LD, RD & even LW. & didn’t give up much”
Erik Erlendsson: on Nesterov: “He’s a good skater, good shot he usually finds a way to get it through; decision making is questionable, needs improvement in own end”