Nesterov to replace Voynov on Russia’s World Cup team

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Earlier today, we passed along word that the Russian hockey federation acknowledged d-man Slava Voynov wouldn’t be eligible to compete in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

And now, the Russians have named Voynov’s replacement.

Nikita Nesterov, the 23-year-old Tampa Bay blueliner, has been added to the roster, the Russian federation announced on Monday. He had three goals and six assists in 57 games last season, and was named to the Russian squad ahead of the likes of Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Zadorov.

Nesterov has represented Russian internationally on several occasions, though only at the U18 and World Junior level. He helped his country capture a pair of medals — silver and bronze — at the ’12 and ’13 WJC.

As for the guy he’s replacing… well, this essentially puts an end to what could’ve been a contentious inclusion.

In late May, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that Voynov was still suspended by the league — stemming from his arrest on felony domestic violence charges in October 2014 — and because of that, would not be allowed to play in the World Cup.

But the Russians had argued that the NHL had no right to hold him out of the international tournament.

Voynov played last season for SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL. He had nine assists in 28 games, including the playoffs.

It should be noted the Russian team will have a pretty distinctive Lightning influence this fall, as Nesterov joins Bolts teammates Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Andrei Vasilevskiy on the roster.