Person of Interest: Who is Canadiens’ D-man Nikita Nesterov?

Steven Stamkos showed off his impressive vertical by getting out of the way of this Nikita Nesterov goal.

The fact that there was actually a trade in the frequently transaction-less NHL Thursday was certainly a discussion topic, with the person of interest being defenceman Nikita Nesterov who goes from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Montreal Canadiens.

Going the other way is Jonathan Racine and a 2017 sixth-round draft pick.

Nesterov is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1 and the Lightning will have several decisions to make when it comes to RFAs and UFAs. Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle will be UFAs at season’s end while Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, and Ondrej Palat will be restricted.

Tampa Bay currently has just over $8 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly.

So let’s get to know Nesterov a little better.

His acquisition has nothing to do with Markov being on IR
Though stud Habs defenceman Andrei Markov is on the shelf with an injury, the trade for Nesterov is unrelated, according to Renaud Lavoie.

Markov has been out since Dec. 17 with a groin injury. Montreal has certainly missed him.

The Habs have five defencemen who average over 20 minutes of ice time per game and Markov is one of them. Mark Barberio and Greg Pateryn average 15:09 and 13:58 respectively. Nesterov seems to give the Canadiens some depth with a good sixth or seventh rear guard. He was fifth on the Lightning in average ice time with 16:35 per game.

Nesterov wants to stay in the NHL
According to Nesterov’s agent, he is not currently entertaining offers from Europe.

In last week’s 30 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman said this about Nesterov’s situation:

“Think Tampa also has Nikita Nesterov available. However, a GM said word is he’s going back to Russia next season. One of the reasons: He’s represented by Dan Milstein, also Pavel Datsyuk’s agent. Asked about it, Milstein said, “[Nikita] wants to play in North America.”

Nesterov’s hometown was hit by a meteor
You may remember the large meteor that landed in Russia’s Ural mountains in 2013, exploding over the city of Chelyabinsk — Nesterov’s hometown.

The 20-metre-wide rock exploded in the air with the force of 500 kilotonnes of TNT, researchers found. Over 1,200 people were treated for injuries from falling building debris and falling glass from affected structures.

Other notable (current or former) NHLers from Chelyabinsk are Evgeny Kuznetsov, Slava Voynov, and Valeri Nichushkin.

Nesterov was born just before Habs’ last Stanley Cup
When Nesterov was born on March 28, 1993, the Canadiens were wrapping up their 1992-93 regular season — the campaign in which they won their last Cup. The night previous, on March 27, the Habs defeated the brand new Ottawa Senators club 4-3, with Vincent Damphousse scoring two goals and an assist. Patrick Roy made 23 saves in the win.

That same night, the similarly brand new Lightning got blown out 8-3 by the Steve Yzerman-led Detroit Red Wings. Yzerman had a goal and three assists in the win.

Lightning defenceman Marc Bergevin was a minus-3 in the loss.

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