The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Thursday the team has re-signed defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $4.3 million contract. The deal will pay the 26-year-old blueliner $1.8 million in 2012-13 and $2.5 million in 2013-14.
Had he not signed, Nikitin would have been a restricted free agent July 1.
Acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 10, 2011, Nikitin had seven goals and 32 points in 54 games; prior to the trade, he had no points in seven games.
"We were very pleased with the way Nikita played after joining us last season as he became a significant contributor on our blue line," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "He made tremendous strides this year and will continue to be an important part of what we believe is a very good group of defensemen."
A 2004 fifth-round pick of the Blues, Nikitin has eight goals and 33 assists in 102 games with the Blues and Blue Jackets.