The Edmonton Oilers have reportedly re-signed defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $9 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers acquired Nikitin’s rights from the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this month. To complete the deal, they’ve sent the Jackets a fifth-round pick.
$4.5 million per season is a considerable raise for Nikitin, who earned $2.14 million per season on his previous contract. While a sizable (6’4″, 223 lbs) mobile defenseman with a good shot, Nikitin’s not particularly physical and must work on his defensive game.
The Oilers are obviously feeling desperate about bolstering their blueline. There’s no other reason to explain this overpayment. At least it’s only a two-year deal. If they felt the need to pay Nikitin that much to stay out of the UFA market, it certainly doesn’t say much for their chances of attracting skilled defensive depth via free agency or trades this summer.