(HockeyStL) -- The St. Louis Blues have traded defenseman Nikita Nikitin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Kris Russell.
Russell was a third round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft and has 79 points (18 goals, 61 assists) in five seasons (288 games played). This season, the 24-year-old has two goals and one assist and minus-1 in 12 games.
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The Blue Jackets receive Nikitin, a fifth round pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, has no points and is minus-5 in seven games for the Blues this season. He has nine career points in 48 games played.
Both players were scratches during their team’s Thursday night game.
There is reasonable speculation that Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had a serious pull in this trade because he coached the Blues Jackets from 2006 until he was fired in 2010.
Russell can become an unrestricted free agent in 2013.
by Scott Bierman, HockeyStL
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