Nikita Zaytsev Profile
2008-09: Played for Krylya Sovetov Moscow’s junior farm team in the Russian first league, and in the Russian junior leagues too. His call for the U18s in Cargo was a bit of a surprise, but he played very well and most likely many scouts signed his name in sight of the 2010 Draft. He was then picked up by Sibir Novosibirsk in the KHL junior draft.
2009-10: he earned a spot with Sibir Novosibirsk at the start of the season and skated in almost all games, considering that he did miss some for a couple of calls from junior team Russia. With pros he didn’t enjoy the same success, but he managed to have a good season, earning some very precious pro experience. After the U18s, Plyushev called him for the WJC too, where he didn’t overly impress.
Nikita Zaytsev is a talented two way defenseman whose top features are his good skating abilities and his passing play. He can open up the offensive rush with a long first pass for the rushing forward at the other end of the ice. The problem is that with Sibir in the KHL he didn’t show this kind of creativity as he played a more defensive role and in fact he scored only one point in the whole year. He doesn’t have a big frame at 6’1”, 176 lbs, but he is very strong and can be a valuable presence on the corners, even if he has to work on his positioning. He doesn’t have a great shot either and that’s why he might struggle a bit in getting on the score sheet if he doesn’t manage to rack up some points with his excellent first pass.
Zaytsev will most likely be a dark horse on the selection day as the infamous Russian Factor will push him down a bit, but he has all the tools to develop into a reliable NHL defenseman. Having signed a three year deal with Sibir Novosibirsk after being drafted in the KHL junior draft, he's under contract with them until April 2012.
At the combine my favorite interviews were the ones with Philadelphia and Chicago because these teams were interested in me a lot.Nikita Zaytsev on June 3, 2010 @ RussianHockeyFans.com
November 8, 2010
14:48 TOI for Zaytsev when Sibir loses to SKA 3-1. +1, no shots, no PIMs