22 year old Devils prospect retires to start a new career as an Instagram influencer

Fourth round pick Nikita Popugayev has his sights set on becoming the next Logan or Jake Paul.


According to a report from KHL team Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk announced yesterday that 22 year old forward and New Jersey Devils 4th round pick (98th overall in 2017) Nikita Popugayev has officially retired to pursue a career as a social media influencer on Instagram.


Here's what Popugayev himself posted on Instagram yesterday (Translated from Russian):

“What's up, guys? Legendary day, new day. Guys, I received 100 messages from you: where is the contract, where is the team, where are you going? I officially declare - I retired, decided to try something new. I really need support, so, friends, if you can, then leave comments, likes, repost - I will be very pleased. A new video will be released today, the first video. Legendary day! I am waiting for support, and today we are revving the gas.”

Maybe I'm out of the loop entirely here but... how does he plan on making a living?

I get that there are "influencers" out there who can earn ridiculous amounts of money by becoming a brand ambassador on Instagram, but I'd imagine that there are many more wannabe influencers who barely earn a dime. I didn't realize that this was just something you could decide to do and go out and replace your full-time job by posting on Instagram?

Am I out to lunch here?

In any case, it appears that Popugayev is indeed done with professional hockey and here's hoping that he lands on his feet. I'm not gonna lie though... when I saw that his first video involved a "prank" where he lets a giant snake loose in a taxi, I cringed so hard I nearly gave myself a concussion. Call me crazy but seriously disturbing people while they're just trying to do their job (drive a cab) isn't my preferred form of entertaining. But then again... maybe I'm the one who's out to lunch?

In any case, if this is indeed the end of the road for Popugayev in professional hockey he'll mostly be remembered for the one decent season he put up in the ECHL with the Adirondack Thunder where he scored nine goals and 25 points in 47 games. He also managed 17 games in the AHL with the Binghamton Devils and bounced around the KHL, making stops with CSKA Moscow, Amur Khabarovsk and Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.