Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens announced they traded St. John’s IceCap defenseman Jonathan Racine and a 2017 sixth-round pick for Nikita Nesterov.
Canadiens acquire defenseman Nikita Nesterov from Tampa, in return for defenseman Jonathan Racine and a 6th round pick in 2017.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 27, 2017
Nesterov spent time this season alternating with Slater Koekkoek as a bottom-pair D, and also exhibited his flexibility by playing as a forward on wing. As of now, it is not known whether Nesterov requested the trade.
Racine, originally drafted by the Florida Panthers, was traded for by Montreal during the offseason. He spent much of the present season in the AHL with the St. John's IceCaps. In 26 games played, he has three assists and 58 PIM. According to Habs Eyes on the Prize managing editor Marc Dumont, the important part of the return was less Racine than it was the sixth-round pick.
Racine is younger than Nesterov at 23 years old, and has a cap hit of $660,000 AAV with no bonuses. His AHL salary is $70,000, and he will likely provide the toughness that Syracuse lacks with Luke Witkowski in the Lightning lineup.
Raw Charge writer GeoFitz's reaction to the news was, "We traded for a worse, but younger and cheaper defenseman." It’s hard to like any trade where the Canadiens are strengthened as a result, but Yzerman obviously looks farther ahead than fans do, and sees value in 2017’s sixth round.
Here are some reactions from around Twitter:
Nesterov RFA July 1. Bolts have other guys to re-sign with tight cap, Johnson, Palat, etc.... Worthy look for Habs. Good skater, puck mover— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 27, 2017
Racine is on a 2-way contract, schedule to be an restricted free agent at the end of the season, so assuming he's #Syr bound, it saves cap— Erik Erlendsson (@Erik_Erlendsson) January 27, 2017
Nikita Nesterov was just traded to @CanadiensMTL He would like to thank @TBLightning and is excited to join the new team— Dr. Dan (@DMilsteinHockey) January 27, 2017
Nikita Nesterov, Markov, Emelin and soon Sergachev. Red army D.— Eric David (@edavid1971) January 27, 2017
Marc Bergevin pretty much landed Nikita Nesterov for nothing. Depth/insurance. I like it. #Habs— Saem A (@illTweets) January 27, 2017
Nikita Nesterov acquisition has nothing to do with Andrei Markov on the IR. Marc Bergevin was looking for more dept at the blue line anyway.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) January 27, 2017