The Buffalo Sabres on Friday signed Russian defenseman Nikita Novikov, a sixth-round pick in 2021, 188th overall, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Novikov, 19, spent the 2022-23 season in the Kontinental Hockey League, registering two goals, five points and 14 penalty minutes in 62 games for Moscow Dynamo.
The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Novikov has compiled three goals, nine points and 20 penalty minutes in 94 career KHL appearances. Only three KHL defenseman have played more games before turning 20.
Novikov is likely ticketed for the Rochester Americans next season.
General manager Kevyn Adams said following the season the Sabres want to sign some of their Russian prospects – they’ve drafted six in the last two years – who have been playing in their homeland. Those youngsters, of course, must have expired contracts with their KHL clubs.
Novikov’s deal with Moscow recently ended.
The Sabres inked forward Viktor Neuchev, a third-round pick in 2022, 74th overall, to an entry-level contract earlier this month.
Winger Aleksandr Kisakov, a second-round pick in 2021, 53rd overall, is a rookie with the Amerks.