This will be the second time Nesterov has left an NHL team to return overseas. After being drafted 148th overall in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nesterov played just two more seasons in Russia before trying his luck in North America. Joining the Tampa AHL affiliate in Syracuse, the defensive back had a respectable 16 points in 54 AHL games in 2013-14. Nesterov was called up to the NHL the following season and became a full-time player in 2015-16. However, his first stint in the NHL lasted only three seasons. In the midst of a better career in 2016-17, Nesterov transferred to the Montreal Canadiens as Tampa faced defensive overcrowding. After this season, Nesterov was not qualified by Montreal and signed in Russia with CSKA Moscow.
Three more seasons in Russia gave Nesterov the confidence to try his luck again, this time with the Calgary Flames. But Nesterov was never able to secure a solid place in the roster, playing just 38 games and averaging 15:52 a night. Totaling just four points, Nesterov hasn’t provided much offensively or defensively this season, leading Calgary to decide he’s not part of their future plans.
It seems unlikely at this point that Nesterov will attempt a return to North America in the future after two failed attempts. If this is the end of the NHL road for Nikita, he ended his career with nine goals, 28 assists and 37 points in 170 regular season games.