As the final cuts loom for NHL teams, the Edmonton Oilers have gotten a head start by placing defenseman Nikita Nikitin on waivers for the purpose of assignment.
The 29-year-old is in the final year of his contract that owes him $4.5 million for the 2015-16 season. In four preseason games, Nikitin recorded three assists, and was a plus two.
Should he be stuck in the AHL with Bakersfield, Edmonton won’t be saving much money. Only $950,000 will be saved on the cap for the Oilers with $3.55 million counting as dead money against the cap per the collective bargaining agreement.
In 42 games last year, Nikita tallied just four goals and six assists. He had been the subject of trade rumors over the past few weeks, but nothing has been able to arise due to his large cap hit. With newcomers like Andrej Sekera and Eric Gryba, Nikitin was clearly expendable.
Because of this, it’s highly unlikely that any team will make a claim on a player who missed most of last season because of injury.
Nikitin has spent just one year in Edmonton after being with the Columbus Blue Jackets for three seasons. He was traded to the Oilers on June 25, 2014 after negotiating a deal with the team shortly before hitting the free agent market.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.