The Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $4.3M contract, club Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and GM Scott Howson announced today. Nikitin will earn $1.8M in 2012-13 and $2.5M in 2013-14. Nikitin, 26, registered seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points with 18 penalty minutes in 61 games with the Blue Jackets and Blues in 2011-12, including 7-25-32 and 14 penalty minutes in 54 games after being acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Blues in exchange for Kris Russell on November 11, 2011. "We were very pleased with the way Nikita played after joining us last season as he became a significant contributor on our blue line," said Howson. "He made tremendous strides this year and will continue to be an important part of what we believe is a very good group of defensemen."