4:50pm: The Flames have officially announced the Nesterov signing. The veteran defenseman has signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.
3:45pm: The Calgary Flames appear to be closing in on a contract with free agent defenseman Nikita Nesterov, according to PuckPedia. A report out of Russia says that the deal will be a one-year, $700K contract, bringing Nesterov back to North America after several years in the KHL. It is important to note that the same outlet reported just recently that Nesterov was close to a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This certainly isn’t the first time that an NHL return for Nesterov has been speculated on. Just this summer he was linked to the Los Angeles Kings, with reports even surfacing that he turned down a multi-year contract with the team.
If you’re wondering why so many teams would be after a player who recorded just 33 points in 132 NHL games, bouncing up and down from the minor leagues during his first tenure in the league, you wouldn’t be alone. But over his three years in the KHL Nesterov has taken real developmental steps to polish his game at both ends of the rink while winning an Olympic gold medal and Gagarin Cup championship.
For the Flames, Nesterov is attractive not only because of his improvements, but also his versatility. The 27-year-old has experience playing both sides and penalty kill, meaning he could potentially help fill in for the holes left by the departures of unrestricted free agents T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Derek Forbort, Erik Gustafsson, and Michael Stone. The team did bring in Chris Tanev on an expensive deal and have their own young defensemen ready to step up, but needed to add some experience and depth to the position before the offseason was complete.