Today the New Jersey Devils traded for Nikita Gusev, the best Russian hockey player to come to the tri-state area this summer (Seriously, who else could it be?).
Since Las Vegas couldn’t afford his contract, New Jersey only had to give up a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick to acquire the star winger; a far better price than what an offer sheet for a quality player would have costed the Devils. Soon after the trade was official, the Devils announced they signed Gusev to a two year, $9 million dollar deal, and that the winger would wear #97 for the team.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about why the Devils had done enough this offseason and should, therefore, hold out instead of making a regrettable signing. Here is the article in case you want to laugh at it and mock my words:
Related: Why Devils’ Shero May Stay Put
But the bottom line is, Shero played his cards perfectly. He waited out the competitive Gusev trade talks and got him for a reasonable price when nobody expected. As a result, we get to watch the Devils be contenders for the Stanley Cup next year (Yeah, I said it).
Who is Gusev?
You might think calling the Devils Stanley Cup contenders is an overstatement, but that’s probably because you don’t know much about Nikita Gusev. He’s a 5-foot-11, 180-pound skilled winger with a right-handed shot; which if you didn’t know, is exactly what the Devils needed. It’s no offense to the guys we have, but between Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, Wayne Simmonds, and John Hayden, there’s just not quite enough skill. But now, New Jersey has the KHL’s 2018 point leader to throw “in the mix” as our new friend P.K. Subban likes to say.
Before, an injury to a Devils’ player meant that they were out of the playoff chase. Now they can get creative with who they put in the lineup and where. I’m just spitballing here, but Boqvist-Zacha-Gusev sounds like a pretty decent third line. Throw those guys behind Hughes-Zajac-Palmieri and Hall-Hischier-Bratt, and you’ve got yourself a wagon of a hockey team. There are a countless amount of other combos you could put together, too. So go celebrate with some Grey Goose or whatever bird-related beverage you prefer, because if you’re not jacked up about this trade you might as well be flatlining.