Prospect Profile: Nikita Nesterenko

Photo: NHL

By Thomas Harrington

The Anaheim Ducks acquired forward Nikita Nesterenko from the Minnesota Wild as part of the John Klingberg deal, along with Andrej Sustr and a 2025 4th round draft pick. He signed his entry-level deal with Anaheim on March 15th, and made his NHL debut against Calgary on March 21st. The Wild originally drafted him in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, 172nd overall.

After being drafted, Nesterenko played for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. There, he scored 20 goals and 56 points in 56 games. He played in seven playoff games and recorded two assists. After his time in the BCHL, Nesterenko played NCAA hockey at Boston College for three years. In his freshman season, he scored eight goals and 19 points in 24 games. He followed that up with seven goals and 24 points in his sophomore season. In his final year of college hockey, Nesterenko set career highs across the board with 13 goals and 34 points in 36 games. He finished second on the team in points and was tied for second on the team in goals. He had a career-high four-point night, including a hat trick, in February against Massachusetts.

After signing with the Ducks, Nesterenko played in nine games and scored one goal. He played between 11 and 14 minutes during those nine games, and averaged nearly 30 seconds of powerplay ice time per game. His lone goal came against St. Louis, and he had a career high five shots on goal against Vancouver in April.

Nesterenko is a player that can play in all situations and saw significant time on both the powerplay and penalty kill for Boston College in his final NCAA season. He can play both center and wing but was primarily used as a winger in college. Nesterenko is a smart player with good puck skills. Sixth round picks aren’t known for becoming future NHL players, but Nesterenko has the tools that make it look like he could become one of the few that do.

Despite playing in nine NHL games to finish out the year, a spot in Anaheim is not a guarantee for Nesterenko next year. He was scratched a couple of times after joining the Ducks. However, a couple of players were returned to San Diego to finish out the season, and Nesterenko was not one of them. Assuming both Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras are re-signed this summer, that will give the Ducks 13 forwards under contract for next year, including Nesterenko. That number becomes 14 if Max Comtois is also re-signed. If they bring in anyone via free agency or at the draft, then that number could go up even more. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Nesterenko play some AHL games, but since he wasn’t assigned to the AHL for their last couple of games, I think the plan for the Ducks is to have Nesterenko in the NHL for most of next season.

I have a few expectations for Nesterenko next season. First, when he is in the AHL, to be one of San Diego’s better forwards. The Gulls really struggled this past season, and a player of his caliber could really help them out. Second, while with the Gulls, to play in all situations, similar to what he did in Boston College. Third, when he’s in Anaheim, to improve his game as the season goes on. I don’t expect him to be one of the top rookies for the Ducks next year, but I’d like to see him get better as the season goes on. That doesn’t just mean putting up more points as the year progresses, but also getting more time on the powerplay and penalty kill and more ice time generally speaking.

Nesterenko is signed through the end of next season, and he’ll be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2024. If he’s proven himself to be an NHL player, he’ll definitely be re-signed. Even if he’s primarily an AHL player after next season, I still think the Ducks will choose to re-sign him on a short, two-way deal.

The next prospect profile will be on Judd Caulfield.

Listen to our show by clicking below or visiting us at PodomaticRumbleSpreaker, or YouTube.

Support us by becoming a DucksNPucks patron! Members can win game tickets, Ducks gear, and more!

Want to start your sports media career? Then Join The Puck Network!

DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team. What are you waiting for? Start your sports media career TODAY!

June 23rd, 2023


chigago blackhawks

Chi-Town Hawks

anaheim ducks

Ducks N Pucks

boston bruins

Bruin Strong

carolina hurricanes

Carolina Caniacs

colorado avalanche

Denver Avs

arizona coyotes

Coyotes Howl

Buffalo sabres

Sabres Den

columbus blue jackets

Blue Jacket Army

dallas stars

Shootout Stars

calgary flames

Fierce Flames

detroit red wings

Red Wings Town

new york islanders

Long island Pucks

minnesota wild

Rink Wild

edmonton oilers

Ice Oilers

florida panthers

Roaring Panthers

new york rangers

Fighting Rangers

nashville predators

Preds N Pucks

los angeles kings

LA Royalty

montreal canadiens

Hockey Habs

new jersey devils

Puck Devils

st.louis blues

Break Away Blues

san jose sharks

Bay Sharks

ottawa senators

Slap Shot Sens

philadelphia flyers

Furious Flyers

winnipeg jets

High Flying Jets

vancouver canucks

Canucks N Pucks

tampa bay lightning

Bay Bolts


Pens N Pucks

toronto maple Leafs

Just Leafs

washington capitals

Capital Pucks