With the Vegas Golden Knights in salary cap limbo, the Nashville Predators should make a push for Nikita Gusev.
The Nashville Predators could use another solid winger to stack their offense, and with Nikita Gusev without a contract and the Golden Knights without cap space, David Poile should work the phones and acquire his RFA rights.
Nikita Gusev was one of the most highly touted KHL prospects for years, especially after being traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2017 Expansion Draft.
He exploded onto the scene the year prior, scoring 24 goals and 71 points in 57 games, his first of three straight seasons where he managed to average well over a point per game average in the KHL.
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Last season was arguably his best year in the KHL, where he scored 17 goals and 82 points in 62 games for SKA St. Petersburg in what would be his final season in the KHL.
Gusev is a four-time KHL All-Star, a KHL MVP in the 2017-18 season, and the KHL points leader in the 2018-19 season. He has achieved more than enough in the Russian hockey scene, and he now looks to do the same at the NHL level.
Gusev came over to Vegas during the 2018-19 playoffs this season and signed a contract with the intent of playing in the second round of the playoffs, which Vegas failed to reach after falling in Game Seven to the San Jose Sharks.
Since he hasn’t reached the games played requirement, he can’t be offer sheeted, so David Poile is going to have to work out a trade with George McPhee, a man he fleeced 2013 when he sent Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat.
There is no doubting that David Poile would be able to do it again, especially with the Vegas Golden Knights in cap shambles.
Poile would likely only need to give up the second-round pick that he received from New Jersey in the P.K. Subban trade along with a third-round pick to make this happen, as Vegas can’t take any roster players due to their cap situation.
It would also be fairly easy to fit Gusev under the cap for the immediate future, as I only see him getting around $3.5 million this season, which would fit perfectly under the salary cap for the Nashville Predators.
We’ve seen him do it all at the KHL level, and Nashville would be the perfect place for him to prove himself at the NHL level, as the Predators do have one of the deepest rosters in the NHL.
He would be a perfect second or third liner next to Matt Duchene or Kyle Turris and will help the team become one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league, as he is a fast skater who can both make plays and score goals.
The possibilities are endless, as the Predators have so many top-six quality forwards that he can gel with, which would make the team scary from top to bottom.
With a talent like Nikita Gusev on board, the Nashville Predators would be primed for cup runs for years to come, making them one of the most frightening offensive teams in the entire NHL.