Montreal Canadiens: A Look At Former Habs Playing In The KHL

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Laval Rocket (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Laval Rocket (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Mar 30, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defense Nikita Nesterov. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defense Nikita Nesterov. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Nikita Nesterov

Nesterov is largely forgotten about both as an NHLer and a member of the Montreal Canadiens, but he was a product of one of the more impressive trades former GM Marc Bergevin was able to pull off during his tenure.

A fifth-round pick of the Lightning in 2011, Nesterov plied his time in the AHL and emerged as a decent second-pairing contributor and stay-at-home defenseman for Tampa Bay. Having acquired AHL enforcer Jonathan Racine earlier in the 2016-17 season in exchange for former prospect Tim Bozon, Bergevin was able to flip Racine close to the trade deadline in exchange for Nesterov, who stepped up his play in a brief 13-game stint with the Habs, showcasing some decent offensive ability with 1-4-5 totals.

After this, Nesterov headed back to Russia, where he has since found his stride as one of the KHL’s trademark stars. Aside from an out of the blue stint with the Calgary Flames in the 2020-21 season (out of the blue as in the Habs first game against Calgary was the first time I realized he signed there), Nesterov has been the de-facto leader, Captain, and surprising two-way dynamo for CSKA Moscow, leading them to a Gargarin Cup title last year whilst posting his first 40-point season as a professional.

Nesterov’s career as a whole is the definition of rock solid, and he’ll likely be a long-time Andrei Markov like player overseas for a few more years at the very least.