Monday Morning Mailbag: Nikita Gusev and the handlebar mustache

Answering your questions.

Don’t look now, but the Vegas Golden Knights have now won four straight games and have gone six straight periods without allowing a goal. Something tells me the addition of Mark Stone is paying dividends more than we know.

Let’s get to some questions.

As our own Brandon Maron wrote not too long ago, Nikita Gusev has been dynamite in the KHL once again. After picking up 82 points in 62 regular-season games, he now has two points (both assists) in three postseason games for SKA St. Petersburg.

It’s no secret that Gusev is a special talent. This was showcased in the 2018 Winter Olympics when he registered 12 points in six games for the Olympic Athletes of Russia. Gusev is evidently ready to leave Russia and may want to join the Golden Knights next season. If this is true, how would he fit in?

I envision the lines looking something like this if Gusev does end up coming over:

Marchessault — Karlsson — Stone
Pacioretty — Stastny — Tuch
Gusev — Haula — Smith
Carrier — Eakin — Reaves

Pretty dangerous lineup if Gusev does end up joining Vegas. As far as the likelihood of him coming over, it’s hard to tell. This is a decision Gusev will have to make on his own. But if the reports we’re hearing are true, the Knights could be getting a very talented addition to the roster next season.

One week ago, I didn’t see the Golden Knights making it past the second round of the playoffs. But now that Vegas has acquired Mark Stone — and the team seems to have woken up after one of its roughest stretches of the season — I can feasibly see Vegas going to the Western Conference Final again.

Granted, that may be a bit optimistic. But as long as Marc-Andre Fleury continues to play like he has over the last week or so, it’s not hard to envision this team making another deep run.

If you’re hoping to see Vegas in the Stanley Cup Final again, you may end up being disappointed. While this year’s team is certainly good, it does not appear to be on the same level as last year’s once-in-a-lifetime squad. There are a lot of things to like about this year’s team, but it definitely has its fair share of issues.

That said, if they end up getting hot at the right time, watch out.

Friend of the site and Las Vegas Sun writer Justin Emerson poses an excellent question here. There aren’t enough handlebar mustaches in the league, which is a major problem.

That being said, who on the Golden Knights could rock a handlebar mustache and not look like a gigantic asshat? To me, two players stick out — William Carrier and Deryk Engelland.

Carrier can grow a pretty nice ‘stache, so why not change the game by rocking the handlebar? Carrier hits hard, and he needs a ‘stache that hits even harder. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that he could pull it off rather easily.

Engelland, on the other hand, strikes me as an old-fashioned kind of guy. And that’s not because he’s the oldest player on the team, either. I just feel like he would respect a ‘stache as bold as the handlebar. The 36-year-old (he turns 37 in April) has taken quite a unique path in his hockey life, so I can imagine him looking at the handlebar and thinking, “Ah, yes. That’s the one.”