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Photo Credit: Andrew Nelles/USA Today Sports

Report: Nikita Nesterov signs with KHL’s CSKA Moscow

According to a report out of Russia, a pending unrestricted free agent of the Calgary Flames is headed to Europe for the 2021-22 season. Metaratings is reporting that defenseman Nikita Nesterov has signed a one year contract with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League.

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Nesterov, 28, joined the Flames in the 2020 off-season on a one year deal for the league minimum salary of $700,000. He played 38 games and had four points, but the emergence of Michael Stone as a stabilizing right side depth option basically forced Nesterov to the sidelines down the stretch as Stone developed chemistry with Juuso Valimaki.

With Valimaki a full-time NHLer and Connor Mackey likely pushing for a full-time role of his own, either Nesterov was going to be back as a seventh defender on a cheap contract or he wasn’t going to be back at all. So he returns to CSKA Moscow, the team he left after three seasons to join the Flames, and will chase championship glory back in his homeland.

Nesterov is the fourth Flames pending free agent to sign with a European team this off-season. Joakim Nordstrom signed with CSKA Moscow (KHL), Alexander Yelesin signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) and C.J. Lerby signed with Malmo (SHL).