April 13, 2019

Gusev Set To Bolster Vegas' Odds

In 2018 the Vegas Golden Knights shocked the hockey world by making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in their inaugural season.

Many believe the 2019 edition of the boys from the desert is an even better team than last year.

And they are about to get even better. The Knights are on the verge of signing perhaps the best player outside of the National Hockey League.

26 year old forward Nikita Gusev's contract with KHL SKA St. Petersburg has expired after the team was knocked out of the conference finals of the playoffs. This season Gusev scored 82 points in 62 games, the second most points in the league this season. Last season Gusev was named as the KHL's Most Valuable Player and led the Russians to the Olympic gold medal.

It will be interesting to see how Gusev fits in. The Knights are a team that thrives on their unshakable chemistry. Injecting a new player into the mix could be a bit dangerous. Gusev is clearly good, but it is still a jump from the KHL to the NHL, and an even bigger jump yet to Stanley Cup playoffs. The difference in intensity between the NHL regular season last week and the Stanley Cup playoffs this week is amazing.

It is in the Knights' best interest to sign Gusev regardless. Due to the rules, he can only sign a one year contract and becomes a restricted free agent this summer and they can presumably sign him long term. If they don't sign him until this summer, he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020

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