If you’re not up to date on just who Nikita Gusev is, you can be forgiven. The 27 year old Russian has yet to play a single NHL game, but after an MVP season in the KHL in which he put up 82 points in 62 games, he’s the talk of the NHL. His rights are currently held by the Vegas Golden Knights, but the team has been unable to get him under contract due to a serious cap crunch.
Gusev is reportedly seeking a deal in excess of $4 million annually and with projected cap space of exactly $0… well, it doesn’t look like the Russian sniper is in Vegas’ plans. General manager Kelly McCrimmon has reportedly been shopping Gusev on the trade market, but it’s his preference to get the player under contract.
So… what’s the asking price for the uber talented Gusev? Vegas insider Jesse Granger shared this little nugget in his latest column for The Athletic:
League sources have told/The Athletic/that most preliminary trade talks for Gusev included a second-round pick, with a later pick or lower-tier prospect attached.
Wow… that’s actually a lot less than you’d imagine. Especially when you consider that Vegas just scored a 2nd round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Collin Miler. So… who picks up the phone first? Certainly an offensive deficient team like the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars or New York Islanders could use a player of Gusev’s skill?
Keep in mind that Gusev is literally one of the most productive players in KHL history, scoring more points per game over his career than recent NHL breakout players Artemi Panarin and Evgeny Dadonov. While he’s never played an NHL game in his life, it’s clear to see why so many feel he has the tools to be a great NHL player.