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Calgary Flames

Flames’ Nikita Okhotiuk Signs 2-Year Deal In Russia

The Russian defender was acquired by Calgary from San Jose during the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline for a 5th round pick.

Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk has signed a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow of the Kontential Hockey League (KHL). Okhotiuk was acquired by the Flames from the San Jose Sharks for a 2024 5th round pick. That pick was originally included as part of the return from Vancouver in the Nikita Zadorov trade.

The Flames can still retain Okhotiuk’s rights if they give him a qualifying offer by June 30th, as he’s a pending restricted free agent.

The 23-year-old was originally a 2nd-round pick by the New Jersey Devils in 2019. He was then traded to San Jose as a part of the blockbuster Timo Meier deal. He only appeared in nine games for Calgary and managed to record one assist. He was a plus/minus – 2. In his NHL career so far, Okhotiuk has played 67 games notching 12 total points. In his short stint with the Flames, he mostly played a shutdown role on the 3rd defensive pair.

Regarding Okhotiuk’s departure, Calgary has many options available for defensive depth. Players such as Brayden Pachal, Joel Hanley and Ilya Solovyov are all solid third-pair options who play a similar style. The Flames also have young defenders in Jeremie Poirier, Artem Grushnikov, and Hunter Brzustewicz. It’s a likely scenario that we see these young players get looks with the big club next season as the youth movement continues.

Nikita Okhotiuk signs in Russia

It’s unfortunate that Okhotiuk didn’t get a longer look, but his departure just opens up an opportunity for another young player to potentially earn a job.

Flames Have Other Defensive Decisions To Make

There’s also the issue with Oliver Kylington and whether he’ll be extending his contract in Calgary. The 27-year-old Swedish defenseman missed the entire 2022-2023 season due to personal reasons and re-joined the team in January. Kylington was solid in his return with the team as in 33 games, he recorded three goals and eight points.

There’s no doubt that Kylington is a top-4 defenseman on this current Flames team. Calgary would love to bring him back but news on negotiations has been minimal. If Kylington does return with the Flames, it’ll be on a short-term deal. The term would likely be around 1-2 years and more of a “show me” type of deal.

The Flames may also look to bring in another top-4 defensemen via trade or free agency. If a quick retool is what the Flames are going for, the blueline is an area that must be addressed.

Next: Perhaps It’s Time for Nick Robertson to Leave the Maple Leafs

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