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Report: Oilers gain permission to negotiate with Nikitin

Jun 20, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Nikita Nikitin Getty Images

Less than a week after Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke about his desire to upgrade the team’s defense, he might have taken his first step in that direction by gaining permission to negotiate with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Nikita Nikitin, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

If the Oilers and Nikitin can reach an understanding, then the next step would be for Edmonton to acquire his rights so that he can be signed.

Nikitin, who turned 28 on Monday, had two goals, 15 points, and 72 blocked shots in a career-high 66 games last season. He’s dealt with a variety of ailments over the past three years, but he did average over 20 minutes per game in the shortened 2013 campaign and 2011-12 when he was healthy. Last season he logged just 17:06 minutes per contest as he found himself outside of the Blue Jackets’ top-four given the presence of Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Fedor Tyutin, and rookie Ryan Murray.

If Nikitin doesn’t sign with the Oilers, then he will be eligible to test the unrestricted free agent market for the first time in his career. He’s coming off of a two-year, $4.3 million deal.

  1. withseidelinn - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Is this guy any good?

    • jhmiddleton81 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Yeah he’s actually not bad, want to see what the cost is but he is a good 3rd pairing D-Man on a championship team but would be good with Schultz too he’s actually pretty defensively responsible and can provide offense too. Depends on the price.

  2. goodolejr - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Sooo…why didn’t Garth Snow do this before actually trading for Boyle’s rights?!

    • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      The Isles need top-3/4 defensemen to fix their problems (filling the void of MacDonald and continuing to strengthen the depth in general). Nikitin doesn’t fix those problems.

      • goodolejr - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        I agree, but I actually meant asking for permission to talk to Boyle first before trading for his rights and finding out he doesn’t want to sign. I could have worded my initial statement a bit better…WHOOPS!

      • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        Reading your post again, it actually is pretty clear what you meant. Derp, reading comprehension. Yeah, not sure why he wouldn’t have at least asked first now that I think about it.

  3. 2qswing - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:34 PM


    what the hell are you doing? Nikitin is not flashy, not a risk taker. BUT HE LED THE DEFENCE IN PLUS-MINUS. He’s as steady as you can get.At the end of a tied or one goal-up-game, I’d rather have Nikitin on the ice than Wiz. Big mistake here.

    Unlike most Cbus fans and ticket holders, I am not on the Jarmo-JD bandwagon yet. What was accomplished last year was done TOTALLY with Howsen acquired players, coaches. The current regime was also left with 3 first round picks. They’re claim to fame so far is the acquisition of Nathon Horton and giving away Marion Gaborik, who, by the way, led the playoffs in scoring. We on the other hand had Jack Skille on first line right wing, against the Pens.

    The next give-away will be Umberger. Lets see if you do as well on that deal as Howsen did with the Nash deal. How about an extension for BOB. You know this is his last year of his contract. Ticket holder for a long time and you got to prove it to me. So far … C –

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