The St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets exchanged defensemen Friday with the Blues acquiring Kris Russell from the Blue Jackets in exchange for Nikita Nikitin.
Russell, 24, has played in 12 games this season with the Blue Jackets, registering three points (two goals, one assist) along with 13 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-10, 174-pound defenseman has played in 288 NHL games in over five seasons, all with Columbus, amassing 79 points (18 goals, 61 assists) and 124 penalty minutes.
The Caroline, Alberta native was originally drafted by Columbus in the third round (No. 67) in the 2005 NHL Draft.
"Kris brings dynamic speed and will add a new dimension to the left side of our defense," St. Louis general Manager Doug Armstrong said.
Nikitin, 25, has collected four penalty minutes in seven games with St. Louis this season. The 6-3, 217-pound native of Omsk, Russia made his NHL debut with the Blues in 2010-11, collecting 1 goal and 9 points with 10 penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating in 41 games.
A fifth-round pick (No. 136), in 2004, Nikitin registered 13-48-61 with 213 penalty minutes and a plus-9 plus/minus rating in 262 career games in the Russian Elite League and KHL with Avangard Omsk from 2004-10. He also represented Russia at the 2006 World Junior Championships, appearing in six games and helping his team win a silver medal.