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In wake of another loss, CBJ swaps Russell to rival Blues for Nikitin

 

Nikita Nikitin with St. Louis Blues (By Bluesgirl64, Jen Ketchel Photography via wikipedia commons)

I was sitting in Nationwide Arena pressbox on Thursday night after another Columbus Blue Jackets loss, this time to Chicago, 6-3 and my Twitter account was blowing up with all these rumors of a trade going to happen before the night was over.

There was a trade, involving Central Division rivals, the Blues and Blue Jackets.

With Ken Hitchcock, the former coach of the CBJ in St. Louis, there are certain players in Columbus he desires.

One of those is Kris Russell, who has underachieved in Columbus. He is now a member of the St. Louis Blues.

The Blue Jackets get a taller defenseman in return, 6’3, 190-pound Nikita Nikitin.

Nikitin is 25 years old and was the 136th overall pick of the Blues in the 2004 NHL draft.

The trade of Russell is a no-brainer because first round pick John Moore is a younger player and has shown more promise each game he’s played. Russell, who has an expensive contract, was expendable. Nikitin is a restricted free agent at season’s end and comes cheaper at $600,000 a year.

In 2010-2011, Nikitin made the surprising advancement from the KHL in Russia to the Blues and their farm team in the AHL, Peoria. In 41 games with St. Louis, he scored 1 goal with 8 assists and 9 points. With Peoria, he was 3-11-14 in 22 games. He shows some promise.

Both are puck-moving defensemen, but the Blue Jackets needed a more physical player which Russell is not.

 

 

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