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Columbus Blue Jackets sign defenceman Nikita Nikitin to 2-year, $4.3-million deal

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenceman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $4.3 million contract.

The 26-year-old Nikitin, who had seven goals and 25 assists in 61 games a year ago with the Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues, will make $1.8 million this coming season and $2.5 million in 2013-14.

He was acquired by the Blue Jackets on Nov. 11 in a straight-up deal for defenceman Kris Russell.

Nikitin ended up second among Columbus defencemen in goals, assists and points and was second overall with three game-winning goals and fourth in average ice time (23:11). St. Louis' fifth pick, 136th overall in the 2004 draft, he set career highs in each of those categories.

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