Vegas is set to add yet another scoring threat for their playoff run. Nikita Gusev was granted a release from his Kontinental Hockey League contract on Friday, intending to sign an entry-level contract with the Golden Knights. The 26-year-old forward has totaled 82 points (17 G, 65 A) in only 62 games this season with SKA St. Petersburg.
His rights were traded to the Golden Knights by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2017 Expansion Draft as part of taking on Jason Garrison’s contract. He was an absolute force for the Olympic Athletes from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. He lead the tournament with 12 points (4 G, 8 A) in only 6 games. They would eventually go on to win the gold medal against Germany. This is a tremendous add for the Golden Knights. The addition of Mark Stone has given them more depth on wing and adding Gusev makes their Top 9 more of a threat.
Projected forward lines with Gusev:
Gusev could add that spark offensively to their bottom-six, something the Golden Knights do need more of. Gusev is a player that has very high offensive upside. He has great skating abilities, Hockey IQ, great vision, as well as a very good shot. So basically he is a very dynamic playmaker. Gusev has potential to be a top-six forward in the NHL, and he has drawn comparisons to Columbus Blue Jackets star, Artemi Panarin. We saw what happened between the Golden Knights and forward Vadim Shipachyov last year, so Golden Knights fans have reason to be cautious of Gusev’s arrival. But they can definitely be excited for his arrival with the caliber of a player he is, that’s for sure.