Nikita Popugaev, a former prospect in the New Jersey Devils organization, has retired from professional hockey to pursue a career as a social media influencer.
Drafted by the Devils in the fourth round back in 2017, Popugaev never played a game in the NHL, but did have five points in 17 AHL games with Binghamton in 2018-19. Last year, while splitting time in the KHL with Dynamo Moskva and Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Popugayev had six points in 25 games, giving him a career total of eight points in 73 games.
In a video posted to his Instagram profile in Russian, Popugaev said he was getting messages from many people asking about his future career, but decided to try something new. Popugaev was joined in a later prank video by Andrei Repin, a YouTuber posting vlogs and pranks with over 315,000 subscribers
Popugaev has just under 23,000 followers on Instagram with many of his posts hovering around 1,000 likes. So definitely an interesting career move by the former NHL prospect.