6th year defenseman Nikita Nesterov(89) was surprisingly left unqualified after a trade sent him from draft team Tampa Bay Lightning to Montreal Canadiens.

He finished 2016/2017 scoring a career high 4 goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 48 NHL games.

It was his first full year in the big league after playing a best 57 games in the previous campaign but also spent 10 games with affiliate Syracuse Crunch.

He skated almost equal time between the two leagues in his 2nd year.

For 2017/2018 the 24-year old heads back home to the KHL signing with HC CSKA Moskva.

It’s a bit of a wonder why he was released after such a good showing, other than he may have been able to command more money than they were willing to give him.

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Nikita Nestorov(89) Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita NesterovTampa Bay Lightning 5th round pick in the 2011 draft (#141 overall), Russian-born 2nd year defenseman Nikita Nestorov(89) earned his first recall.

He is well on his way to posting career high totals in his sophomore campaign with affiliate Syracuse Crunch scoring 3 goals and 11 assists for 14 points with a +4 rating, but the stat that seems to jump off the sheet is an average of two shots on net in each of 32 AHL games.

Before turning pro in North America, he already had a full season and a few contests under his belt in the KHL with Traktor Chelyabinsk while also still playing juniors in his home country.

In 45 games he somewhat surprisingly only recorded one assist.

The sturdy 5’11” 199 lbs. blue liner was a standout in WJC competitions winning a pair of bronze and a silver medal while also helping his team on the score sheet.

In his NHL debut he skated 17 shifts for 15:02 total ice time with one giveaway and a couple of takeaways.

The 21-year old also left the 5-1 victory with a +1 rating.

He’s filling in a spot due to  an injury but with continued aggressive, smart play could find himself getting a longer look.

He is signed to a three-year entry level deal through the 2015/2016 season.