This will mark the second time that Nesterov has left an NHL team to return overseas. After being drafted 148th overall in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nesterov played just two more seasons in Russia before electing to try his luck in North America. Joining Tampa’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, the defensive defenseman had a respectable 16 points in 54 AHL games in 2013-14. Nesterov was called up to the NHL the following season and became a full-time player by 2015-16. However, his first NHL stint only lasted three seasons. In the midst of a career-best 2016-17, Nesterov was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens as Tampa dealt with overpopulation on their defense. After that season, Nesterov was not qualified by Montreal and signed in Russia with CSKA Moscow.
Three more seasons in Russia gave Nesterov the confidence to come over and try his luck again, this time with the Calgary Flames. But Nesterov was never able to lock down a solid spot in the lineup, playing just 38 games and averaging 15:52 a night. Totaling just four points, Nesterov didn’t provide much offensively or defensively this season, leading Calgary to decide that he wasn’t a part of their future plans.
It seems unlikely at this juncture that Nesterov would attempt a return to North America in the future after two failed attempts. If it’s the end of the NHL road for Nikita, he finished his career with nine goals, 28 assists, and 37 points in 170 regular-season contests.