Devil’s Advocate – Nikita Gusev

There has understandably been a lot of talk about Nikita Gusev as of late. He currently wants more money than the Vegas Golden Knights can afford to give without making another trade to clear cap space. Even Pittsburgh Penguins fans want to work out a deal, but it would need to be a 3-way trade as they have cap problems of their own and would need to shed a contract that Vegas could not afford to take on.

Gusev is the reigning KHL MVP, and the Pens have previously expressed interest in Malkin’s former teammate and 4-time MVP Sergei Mozyakin, although he seems content to remain in Russia. However, not all KHL players work out when they come to the NHL, as a Pens and Vegas fan I am accutely reminded of two of Gusev’s recent teammates: Sergei Plotnikov and Vadim Shipachyov.

Just because neither of them were able to adjust doesn’t mean Gusev will struggle, but it is one reason that people are reluctant to give $4M a year to an unproven player. Even if Vegas had the cap space that may not be a wise move. So in contrast to all the articles saying they must get a deal done at any cost let’s play Devil’s Advocate and examine some of the concerns.

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