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Nikita Igorevich Zaitsev (Russian: Никита Игоревич Зайцев; born 29 October 1991) is a Russian professional ice hockey defenceman for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Nikita Zaitsev
Nikita Zajtsev May 4, 2014.jpg
Born (1991-10-29) 29 October 1991 (age 27)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Ottawa Senators
Sibir Novosibirsk
CSKA Moscow
Toronto Maple Leafs
National team  Russia
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2009–present

Contents

Playing careerEdit

Zaitsev was selected by Sibir Novosibirsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in the first round, fourth overall, of the 2009 KHL Junior Draft, making his debut for the club a few months later. After four years with the Sibir organization, Zaitsev joined his hometown CSKA Moscow, after which he began to attract international attention. He was twice a KHL All-Star (2015, 2016) and named once to the KHL First All-Star team (2014–15).[1]

 
Zaitsev skating with the puck behind the net in a playoff game against the Washington Capitals in 2017.

In the summer of 2015, the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs began to garner publicized interest in Zaitsev; Zaitsev had even toured the city and arena, while also meeting with team staff, coming away "very impressed".[2] Despite this, Zaitsev returned to Russia to honour the final year of his contract with CSKA.[2] During the subsequent season's playoffs, he led all defencemen in scoring with 13 points (tied with Sami Lepistö and Chris Lee), while helping the top-seeded CSKA to the Gagarin Cup finals, where the team lost in the deciding Game 7 to Metallurg Magnitogorsk.[3]

On 2 May 2016, Zaitsev signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs.[1] He made his pre-season debut with the club on 2 October, scoring a goal in a 3–2 win over the rival Montreal Canadiens. On 12 October 2016, Zaitsev made his official NHL debut in a 5–4 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the 2016–17 season opener. He scored his first NHL goal on 17 December 2016 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On 2 May 2017, Zaitsev signed a new seven-year, $31.5 million contract with Toronto carrying an average annual value of $4.5 million.[4]

During the 2017–18 season, Zaitsev was placed on injured reserve (IR) with a lower body injury on 17 December 2017. He had 7 points in 18 games with Toronto before being placed on IR.[5] After missing 17 games, he returned to the lineup on 30 January 2018 for a game against the New York Islanders.[6]

On 1 July 2019, Zaitsev was traded (along with Connor Brown and Michael Carcone) to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.[7]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2008–09 Krylya Sovetov Moscow RUS-2 8 0 0 0 0
2009–10 Sibir Novosibirsk KHL 40 0 1 1 6
2010–11 Sibir Novosibirsk KHL 39 0 2 2 12 4 0 0 0 2
2011–12 Sibir Novosibirsk KHL 53 1 3 4 28
2012–13 Sibir Novosibirsk KHL 49 7 11 18 41 7 1 0 1 8
2013–14 CSKA Moscow KHL 33 4 8 12 18 4 1 1 2 27
2014–15 CSKA Moscow KHL 57 12 20 32 31 16 1 7 8 2
2015–16 CSKA Moscow KHL 46 8 18 26 20 20 4 9 13 10
2016–17 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 4 32 36 38 4 0 0 0 0
2017–18 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 60 5 8 13 31 7 0 2 2 2
2018–19 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 81 3 11 14 18 7 0 0 0 2
KHL totals 317 32 63 95 156 51 7 17 24 49
NHL totals 223 12 51 63 87 18 0 2 2 4

InternationalEdit

 
Zaitsev with the Russian national junior ice hockey team during the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
Medal record
Ice hockey
Representing   Russia
World Championships
  2016 Russia
  2019 Slovakia
World Junior Championships
  2011 United States
World U18 Championships
  2009 United States
Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2009 Russia WJC18   7 1 4 5 14
2010 Russia WJC 6th 6 0 0 0 4
2011 Russia WJC   6 0 0 0 0
2013 Russia WC 6th 3 1 0 1 0
2016 Russia WC   10 1 3 4 2
2016 Russia WCH 4th 4 0 2 2 2
2018 Russia WC 6th 8 0 8 8 0
2019 Russia WC   10 2 2 4 0
Junior totals 19 1 4 5 18
Senior totals 35 4 15 19 4

Awards and honoursEdit

Award or Honour Year Ref
KHL
2x KHL All-Star 2015, 2016 [1]
KHL First All Star Team 2015 [1]
Most playoff points by a defenceman (13) 2016 [1]
International
WC All-Star Team 2016

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Maple Leafs Sign Defenceman Nikita Zaitsev". National Hockey League. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Leafs summer recruit Nikita Zaitsev thriving in final year of KHL deal". Pension Plan Puppets. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Alex Semin, Metallurg win KHL championship in thrilling Game 7". Roger's Sportsnet. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Maple Leafs sign Nikita Zaitsev to long-term extension; Ben Smith inked - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  5. ^ Canadian Press (17 December 2017). "Maple Leafs recall Martin Marincin, place Nikita Zaitsev on IR". Sportsnet.ca. Sportsnet. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Holl, Dermott pick up first career NHL goals as Leafs beat Islanders". tsn.ca. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018. Defenceman Nikita Zaitsev was also back in Toronto's lineup after missing 17 games with a foot injury.
  7. ^ "Senators acquire Zaitsev, Brown from Toronto in six-player deal". Ottawa Senators. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.

External linksEdit