Mar 3, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin (6) reacts to a goal during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Columbus defeated Toronto 2-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers sign Nikita Nikitin to two year deal

The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two year deal worth $9 million per Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports.

The Oilers sent a fifth round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the negotiating rights to the 28-year old Nikitin, pending a successful signing. Now that the deal is done, the trade is finalized.

Nikita Nikitin spent the last two and a half seasons in Columbus after a year and a half of playing in the St. Louis Blues organization. In signing the deal, Nikitin will forfeit his right to free agency.

Nikitin is primarily known as a big-bodied defenseman who plays well in his own end. He amassed 15 points in 66 games last season, but a steady physical presence on defense is exactly what the Oilers need.

The $4.5M cap hit won’t be a problem for the cash-cozy Oilers and the two year term minimizes the risk. Nikitin isn’t going to blow anyone away with his performance and if he’s playing top two or top four minutes on this team, then that will likely be indicative of another bad year in Edmonton.

Still, GM Craig MacTavish made it clear he wanted to get several defensemen and he’s already started the process with one. Now the Oilers have a couple days to solidify their plans to shore up the rest of the roster at the draft on Friday, followed by free agency on July 1.

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