New Jersey Devils Trade For Nikita Gusev

Nikita Gusev
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 26: Nikita Gusev of Russia in action during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia third place play-off game between Russia and Czech Republic at Ondrej Nepela Arena on May 26, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by Pawel Andrachiewicz/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

After months of speculation, the Vegas Golden Knights have traded Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils. Gusev goes to the Devils in exchange for a 3rd rounder in 2020, and a 2nd rounder in 2021. In addition, the Devils have signed Gusev to a two-year contract worth $9 million. The contract carries a salary-cap hit of $4.5 million.

Devils Acquire Nikita Gusev

The New Jersey Devils keep on improving this off-season. In the Saturday edition of NHL Rumors, the Devils were still in the running for Gusev as a trusted source told LastWordonHockey.com. The Devils wanted to solidify their top-six forwards just in case a player like Jesper Boqvist was not ready to step in right away. Adding a player like Gusev would give the Devils time for Boqvist to develop.

Gusev’s name has been on the trade market for the past few months. The Russian forward made no bones about it that he wanted out of Vegas if he did not receive a new contract. Things started to heat up Monday morning between the two clubs. As Jesse Granger tweeted today, the Golden Knights gave Gusev’s camp permission to speak with the Devils this weekend.

It is no surprise that any deal involving Gusev would require the team acquiring him to sign him to an extension. The player got a little more than he was asking for and the Devils had the room to sign Gusev. It is a win-win for both parties.

Gusev finished the season with a KHL league-high 82 points (17G, 65A) in 62 regular-season games and also led the league in assists. During the KHL playoffs, he recorded 19 points (9G, 10A), which ranked second in the league. Gusev has also seen time at the international level playing for Team Russia.

In 2018, he helped lead the Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) to a gold medal during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Gusev was named the “Best Forward” after posting a tournament-best 12 points (4G, 8A) in six games. He also led Team Russia to a bronze medal during the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship and a silver medal during the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Devils Push to The Playoffs

Ray Shero has made sure the Devils are a contender this season. The luck of lottery balls fell the Devils way in the spring. The Devils were able to select the Jack Hughes with the number one overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Then Shero went out and acquired P.K. Subban from Nashville to improve the defense. Now with Gusev in the mix, the Devils have depth upfront.

Obviously, Shero’s next priority is to sign Taylor Hall, who has stated he will take his time signing a new deal. However, with these moves is showing him their willingness to commit to winning. Having a commitment to winning should make things a little easier for Hall to sign an extension in New Jersey.

Adding Gusev to the mix only strengthens them offensively. Not only does Gusev strengthen the Devils five-on-five play, but the power play as well. Not to mention, he can be a factor in three-on-three overtime.

Shero wants the Devils to get back to the playoffs and be a contender for a long time. These moves are a step in the right direction in building a consistent winner that will contend for Stanley Cup for many years to come.

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim continues to coach a local high school team. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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