With NHL free agency officially starting on July 1st, teams only have 15 more days to resign their players before they are open to bids from other teams. In the next 15 days, we will look through the unrestricted free agents the Columbus Blue Jackets have this year, and preview what we could expect once free agency starts.
Today we’ll take a look at CBJ defenseman Nikita Nikitin.
2013 Cap hit: $2,150,000
2013-14 Stats: Niktin scored two goals and added 13 assists for only 15 points in the regular season, and didn’t contribute on the scoreboard at all in the post-season. He was +9 on the year, and had 20 penalty minutes.
Summary: Of the Jackets defensemen who were not on entry-level contracts this season, Nikitin was the lowest- paid. His salary was less than half of Fedor Tyutin and James Wisniewski, and less even than Nick Schultz, who, once traded to Columbus, barely saw the ice. My prediction is that Nikitin will ask for more money this season. If the Jackets are to resign him, they will likely have to bump up his salary.But is he really worth it? Only contributing 15 regular season points and no playoff points at all, Nikitin was certainly not a clutch player for the Jackets this season. If he gets offered more money to go play somewhere else, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jackets let him go. But, if no one else offers him more, the Jackets might be able to sign him to a still relatively low amount, in which case I think we would see them resign him.
With a player like Niktin, it all comes down to what offers he gets. I don’t think the Jackets will be in a big hurry to resign him. I could be wrong, but I’ll bet we’ll see him try out free agency to see what he can get. If he can’t get much, he’ll likely sign with the Jackets again, probably for a similar amount. He’ll just have to wait and see what he can get.