26-Year-Old Defenseman – Toronto Maple Leafs
Nikita Zaitsev Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year contract extension worth $4.5 million annually with the Maple Leafs in May of 2017.
Zaitsev recorded three blocks in his return from a foot injury against the Islanders on Wednesday.
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Age is determined on October 1st of each season.No Yes
Nikita Zaitsev: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Zaitsev is a silky-smooth, two-time KHL All-Star who controls the game from the back end using great skating and excellent poise. He's not physical, but he's good with his stick, breaking up plays with body positioning and angling. Zaitsev has a good shot and can walk the line on the power play, and he's a coveted right shot. He has the potential to be a top-four defender in time if he can adjust to the physicality of playing on the smaller NHL ice. Zaitsev's KHL experience will give him a leg up on several guys in training camp and he might even start the season as the team's No. 4 defender. He will struggle at times – he just moved halfway around the world to one of North America's biggest cities, just to play hockey. But Zaitsev could be a 20-minute, 35-to-40 point defender in a few short years.