Report: Pending restricted free agent defender Nikita Okhotiuk signs with KHL’s CSKA Moskva

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
18 days ago
The Calgary Flames’ training camp logjam of blueliners may have eased a little bit. Per a report from TSN’s Darren Dreger, defenceman Nikita Okhotiuk, a pending restricted free agent on July 1, has signed a deal with CSKA Moskva of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Per Dreger, Okhotiuk’s deal is for two seasons and runs through 2025-26. CSKA acquired Okhotiuk’s KHL rights in a trade with HC Torpedo on Wednesday.
The Flames previously acquired Okhotiuk prior to the trade deadline from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round draft choice. That draft choice, originally Chicago’s, was acquired by the Flames from Vancouver in the Nikita Zadorov trade. Vancouver previously acquired that selection from Chicago in the Anthony Beauvillier trade a few weeks earlier.
Okhotiuk is a 23-year-old product of Chelyabinsk, Russia. He was a second-round pick by New Jersey in 2019, and went to San Jose in the Timo Meier trade. He played 67 NHL games between the Devils, Sharks and Flames and has posted 12 points. He dressed in nine games for the Flames after his arrival, playing primarily on the third pairing in a shutdown role and registering one assist.
The Flames can retain Okhotiuk’s NHL rights by tendering a qualifying offer prior to June 30’s deadline. Historically, when this type of thing happens – a pending RFA heading to Europe – they’ve done so. If they do qualify Okhotiuk, they would maintain his NHL rights until he turns 27, which would maximize their long-term flexibility regarding the player as an asset.
With Okhotiuk departing, the Flames have nine defencemen under contract for 2024-25 (including NHL regulars MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Andersson, Daniil Miromanov, Brayden Pachal and Joel Hanley), two blueliners set to become RFAs (Ilya Solovyov and Yan Kuznetsov), and six defenders set to become unrestricted free agents on July (including NHL regulars Oliver Kylington and Dennis Gilbert). All signs point to the Flames and Kylington trying to has out a deal, but nothing is done until it’s done.
Needless to say, even with Okhotiuk’s departure, it should be a competitive training camp on the back end.
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