Fantasy Impact: The Blue Jackets traded defenseman Kris Russell in exchange for defenseman Nikita Nikitin.
The Blues get: A swift-skating defenseman who has yet to find a role for himself at the NHL level. Russell hasn’t delivered the offense that Columbus had expected from him at this point in his career.
The Jackets get: A big defensive prospect with a huge slap shot. Nikitin hasn’t been able to crack the Blues lineup on a consistent basis.
Fantasy Players Impacted:
Russell was healthy scratched a few times for the Jackets, but he won’t be one in St. Louis (at least to start). Apparently Ken Hitchcock really coveted him, and said that he’s going to find a way to get Russell into the lineup. Russell has played for Hitchcock before (back when he used to coach Columbus).
This move likely bumps Carlo Colaiacovo down the depth chart, and probably pushes Ian Cole back to the AHL as well. Russell doesn’t have much fantasy value, but he hasn’t completely been written off as an offensive defenseman either.
Nikitin has a one-way contract (he doesn’t have to clear waivers, but he makes the same salary at the AHL level), and he’ll get at least a short term look in Columbus. I don’t think the Jackets are done trading. Russell had averaged about 3:30 of PP ice time per game. Nikitin won’t take any of that, but it should be dispersed among David Savard and Grant Clitsome.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: