Quick Strikes: Nikita Nesterov moved to make room for Luke Witkowski

Erik Erlendsson shed some light on Nesterov’s trade to the Habs.

The Org

Right before the Tampa vs. Florida game, Nikita Nesterov was traded to the Canadiens for a sixth-round pick and AHL defenseman Jonathan Racine. There was much speculation last night about why this happened, especially because Nesterov has more offensive contributions in goals and assists than Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn combined, this season. Could it be that a second trade was coming that would balance out this one? Could it be that there are magical players in 2017’s sixth round of the draft?

Answering all our questions, Erik Erlendsson of Lightning Insider spoke to Steve Yzerman about why he traded Nesterov. In a series of tweets, Erlendsson shed light upon the issue, saying that it was simply to keep from losing Witkowski to waivers:

Spoke to Yzerman, basically said move made for roster issue reasons, feel they’d lose Witkowski or Nesterov to waivers. Said they didn’t want to carry 8 Dmen, so expect Witkowski here indefinitely, likes balance of R-L Dmen. Said cap space not really factored in to the equation, though it does save a minimal amount against the cap.

Doesn’t mean immediate spot open for Koekkoek, still very high on Slater, who doesn’t need waivers for 1 more year, praised his play in [Syracuse]. Yzerman also had praise for Nesterov, who he still believes has upside but had hard time finding regular spot in lineup here.

Here’s Erik’s story: Tampa Bay Lightning trade Nikita Nesterov, acquire Jonathan Racine from Montreal. What does it mean for Slater Koekkoek? [Lightning Insider, subscription content]

Here’s the Habs side of the trade. Nikita Nesterov trade an immediate win for the Montreal Canadiens. “What this likely means is that one of Mark Barberio or Zach Redmond may start to feel the heat for their lineup spot.” Ironic, Nesterov fighting Barberio for a spot again. [HEOTP]

Former Lightning foward Jonathan Marchessault proving himself with Florida. “I didn’t know what kind of a role I would have right away, but injuries were a big part of that this year, but playing on a third line and power play is a role that I wanted at the beginning of the year. I was able to get it and after the injuries came in, guys had to step up and I think I was one of them. So it’s been good.’’ [Lightning Insider, subscription content]

I wonder if she gave birth? Jonathan Marchessault snaps Panthers skid in overtime. “Reimer started after Roberto Luongo sustained a minor injury during the morning skate. Reimer was away from the Panthers for the last two games of a four-game road trip after flying home to be with his wife, April, who is expecting their first child.” [NHL]

Lightning ends trip with OT loss to Panthers (w/ video). "We pointed in four of the six games," Cooper said. "It's just a little bit frustrating because we sit here and say it could have been an unreal trip, but it turned into a mediocre trip because we only got six points out of it." [Tampa Bay Times]

Raw Charge on air!

Raw Charge’s analytics guy @loserpoints spoke to Dimitri Filipovic of the Hockey PDOcast yesterday to discuss the numbers behind Tampa’s strange season. “Alan Wells joins the show to to discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning in depth. What’s gone wrong for them this season, are there deeper-rooted issues to worry about or is this season a one-off, and what will they look like in years to come?” [PDOcast]

The League

NHL teams adjusting on the fly to new wrinkle of bye weeks. "A five-day bye week for each team is a new wrinkle added to the NHL this season so players can get a breather during the second half of a grueling, 82-game grind. The players’ union negotiated for it last year in exchange for agreeing to the 3-on-3 tournament that replaced the traditional All-Star Game." [Fox Sports]

NHL ref’s hot mic catches his profanity towards player (Video). I'm sure we all feel like this guy sometimes. [Puck Daddy]

NHL And L.A. Kings Team Up For Hollywood All-Star Weekend.  “The fact that you have so much celebrity in the backyard, we absolutely set out to make this very heavy celebrity and popular celebrity-driven,” he says. “We made a conscious decision that we were gonna go a little more popular, a little more top 10 and we just felt like it was the right vibe in L.A.” [Forbes]

NHL books Snoop Dogg to perform at All-Star Skills Competition. "The Doggfather is no stranger to hockey games in Southern California and is known to don a sweater from time to time, including in some of his music videos. This is a win for hockey fans everywhere." But he's a Ducks fan. [Sporting News]

Look for more All-Star Game coverage this weekend from the Raw Charge staff as we follow Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman’s path to the game!