Nikita Gusev’s arrival to the NHL is unknown
It still may be a while before the Russian product will be in North America.
Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
As part of a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Vegas Golden Knights received Nikita Gusev.
The deal also involved defenseman Jason Garrison, a second-round pick in 2017 (traded for Keegan Kolesar), and a fourth-round pick in 2018.
Let's find out what Gusev can bring to the Golden Knights.
The 5-foot-11, 181-pound forward was a seventh-round pick in 2012. The Russian since remained in the KHL playing for SKA St. Petersburg. If that sounds familiar, it's because Golden Knight Vadim Shipachyov also played on this team last season.
The highly-skilled scorer, though undersized, has been productive and could probably make the jump to the NHL. He is quick, elusive, and has slick hands, but has to get better on the defensive end.
His contract runs through next season but some, including our friends over at Raw Charge, wondered if Gusev might extend his contract beyond even then. If so, there is a risk we might never see Gusev come to the NHL.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old player has played 275 games in the KHL, putting up 80 goals and 188 points in that time. His 2016-17 season is especially noteworthy, putting up a 24-47—71 line, and added 23 more points in 18 playoff games en route to winning the Gagarin Cup.
He added 14 points (including seven goals) in the IIHF Hockey Championship in 2017.
If George McPhee cannot convince Gusev to forego re-signing with SKA St. Petersburg and take the trip overseas to the NHL it will be a loss for the organisation, but not a crippling one. They still received a second and fourth-round picks along with whatever they might get for Jason Garrison should they trade him.
If McPhee can get Gusev to the NHL, he could be a big add to the Golden Knights lineup going forward.