Nikiforov, 27, returns to the Mallards after first playing for the team in 2013-14. The Hauppauge, N.Y. native scored 14 goals and added 31 assists for 45 points in his first campaign with the Mallards. Nikiforov returns to the ECHL with the Mallards after spending the bulk of his first three professional seasons in the league. Nikiforov skated for the Utah Grizzlies as a rookie in 2008-09 and again in 2009-10 before splitting time among the Florida Everblades, Bakersfield Condors and Reading Royals in 2010-11. The following season saw him suit up for both the Central Hockey League’s Bloomington Blaze and the Federal Hockey League’s Brooklyn Aviators.
Nikiforov spent last season in Europe playing for 1. EV Weiden in Germany, Orlik Opole in Poland and the Coventry Blaze in the United Kingdom. He piled up 36 points (14g-22a) in 30 games over his three stops. Last season was Nikiforov’s second in Europe. In 2012-13, he scored 16 points (10g-6a) in 45 games in Russia with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Over his seven-year career Nikiforov has scored 265 points (100g-165a) in 359 regular season games. Nelson picked up 28 points (16g-12a) in 43 games with the Mallards as a rookie last season.
Nelson, who scored 15 times and picked up six assists in just his final 26 games, was acquired in a trade with the Rapid City Rush shortly after the start of last season.
The 21-year-old produced 128 points (60g-68a) in 179 games over three junior seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals. The Rogers, Minn. native spent the 2010-11 season with the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers before heading north of the border. Nelson was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft.