Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times has reported that the Lightning have re-signed defenseman Nikita Nesterov to a one year deal for $750,000. Nesterov was a 5th round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and was a restricted free agent this summer after finishing his three year entry level contract.
Last season, Nesterov appeared in 57 games with the Lightning and scored 9 points with a minus-six plus-minus rating. He also appeared in 9 playoff games registering 1 assist for the Lightning as well as 10 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. In total, Nesterov has 84 NHL games and 16 points along with 96 games and 34 points for the Syracuse Crunch.
With Slater Koekoek ready to make the jump to the NHL this season and with veteran defenseman James Wisniewski in camp on a professional try out, it’s possible that Nesterov will not make the Lightning out of training camp. He would have to pass through waivers, but with his limited success in the NHL, it seems likely he would make it through unclaimed. If the Lightning can get him to Syracuse, he would provide a big offensive boost on their blue line as well as being ready to a recall to Tampa in the event of injuries.