The Vegas Golden Knights had a late-season win prior to the playoffs when they signed Russian winger Nikita Gusev. Now, with the KHL leading scorer reportedly asking for a two-year, $8-million deal (with an AAV of $4-million), the Golden Knights might be forced to trade him. The Red Wings are one of the teams that were listed as interested.
Гусев хочет в районе 8М на 2 года, Вегас, считай, предлагает 4М (потолок жмет даже после разгрузки). Коламбусу, Детройту и Сан-Хосе стоит призадуматься
— Игорь Еронко (@IgorEronkoRus) July 2, 2019
Roughly translated, the above tweet from Igor Eronko’s Russian account reads:
Gusev wants around 8M for 2 years, Vegas, consider, offers 4M (the ceiling presses even after unloading). Columbus, Detroit and San Jose should be thoughtful
The Golden Knights are right up against the cap ceiling and will therefore struggle fitting Gusev under it on a $4-million AAV deal. George McPhee admitted today that the door is open for a trade and that he’s been taking calls on him.
Gusev has played the last six seasons in the KHL and has been one of the league’s best players. Last season, he led the league in scoring with 17 goals and 82 points through 62 games played. He is a highly-desired player who would immediately make the Red Wings better.
The big question is what is the cost going to be to acquire him? The Golden Knights certainly can’t take on more cap space, so it may come down to a cap dump on their part. Would Steve Yzerman be open to taking David Clarkson‘s cap hit to add Gusev to the lineup? It’s certainly worth thinking about.
We know that Yzerman has liked the player historically. In 2012, Gusev was drafted 202nd overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. That may be a bit of a stretch in connecting the dots, but it certainly shows that Yzerman was interested once before, so why not now?