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Lightning Round: Is Nikita Nesterov coming back to Tampa?

Joe Thornton goes to Toronto

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Russian hockey journalist Dmitry Erykalov of yesterday reported in his telegram channel, that former Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Nikita Nesterov is discussing a possibility of return to Tampa. Nesterov’s previous contract with the CSKA Moscow from the KHL expired last spring and the player is currently unemployed.

Nikita Nesterov was drafted in the the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft as the 148th overall pick by the Lightning. In 2013 he finally arrived to North America, making his debut for the Syracuse Crunch and one year later he played in the first NHL game. He spent the next three seasons sharing his time between the AHL and the NHL before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 2017.

During his Tampa Bay stint he was mostly utilized as the third line defencemen with offensive upside, who can be useful on the second power play unit and even occasionally as the fourth line defenceman. He recorded 28 points in 119 regular season games with the Bolts, and 7 points in 26 playoff games, including 6 points during the 2015 playoff run to the Stanley Cup Final.

After a short appearance for the Canadiens, he signed a contract with one of the top teams in the KHL – CSKA Moscow. During three seasons in Russia he evolved into one of the top defencemen in the league, winning the Gagarin Cup in 2019. He also regularly played for the Russian national team and earned an olympic gold medal with the team Olympic Athletes from Russia in 2018.

In March, Igor Eronko reported that the Los Angeles Kings offered Nesterov a two-year deal, worth $6 million. The offer was later lowered to $1.5 million per year and eventually the Kings withdrew their offer last summer. Nesterov also turned down a new contract offer by the CSKA and is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Per Dmitry Erykalov, Nesterov is discussing a league minumum contract with the Lighnting. After the departure of Kevin Shattenkirk and Zach Bogosian the Lightning need another player to fill a spot on the right side of the Lighnting’s defence and Nesterov could be an option. According to Erykalov this deal is not close to official but we will closely follow developments of potential deal.

Around the League

The second part of Erik Erlendsson’s Journey to a Stanley Cup story has been published yesterday, throwing light on what Steven Stamkos and his wife were dealing with during last month.

Joe Thornton signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Thornton is currently playing for the HC Davos of the Swiss National League and expected to join his new team when the training camps start.

The Sharks have also signed a prospect Ozzy Wiesblatt to en entry-level contract

The Los Angeles Kings have asigned the 2nd overall pick of the latest draft, Quinton Byfield, to an entry-level contract. Byfield has also chosen to wear number 55 in the NHL.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Nolan Patrick to a one-year deal, worth $874,125. Patrick has missed the whole 2019-20 due to migraine disorder.

Andrew Mangiapane is staying with the Calgary Flames after signing a two-year deal at $2.425 million AAV.

The Carolina Hurricanes have strengthened the depth of their organization after signing three players on Friday.

Patrik Laine’s trade talks have intensified over the last weeks, reportedly he’s linked to the Philadelphia Flyers