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Nikita Gusev Traded To The New Jersey Devils For Future Draft Picks

Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced today, July 29, that the Golden Knights have acquired a third round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and a second round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Nikita Gusev.

We did our best to accommodate Nikita and his salary request but were unable to do so. He is a good person, a good player and we wish him well in New Jersey -George McPhee

When you have a roster comprised of players who are deserving of a certain salary range you are not always able to make room for everyone. This is the reality of having a good team in the salary cap world. After this trade, we now own nine picks in the first three rounds of the next two drafts. These picks will help boost our organizational depth and add to our pool of prospects. Although we were not able to make this work I am really happy with where we are at with our roster. -McPhee

Gusev was signed by the Golden Knights to a one-year, entry level contract on April 14, 2019. The team acquired Gusev’s rights during the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round (202nd overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.


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  1. Chris W

    I am so frickin bummed about this, can’t wait to hopefully hear you guys rant on a podcast episode. Any chance we’d make a move to trade for gusev in one year?

  2. Scott

    Boooooo. I have the feeling this one will hurt. In George and Kelly I trust.

  3. John

    this is soooooo disappointing. in the two years of the VGK existence, i have been behind GMGM with every move (i could even understand the tatar and patches moves, with context).

    but this is the first move i am completely against. Sometimes i think McPhee always has to be the smartest guy in the room. ugh, really frustrated,

  4. vgk2019

    total failure by McPhee. He is basically saying that Nick (mr. playoff scratch) Holden is more important than Haula, Miller, and Gusev COMBINED. absolutely disgraceful.

  5. KL

    But on the bright side, at least we still have Pirri and Holden and Zykov and…..and…..and…..ummm……and…..

  6. Mark

    This hurts. The 1st fcuk up by McPhee and Co. I wanted him from day one. This really bothers me. They better get good picks for losing the best player available in the KSL. Get out their and make this worth what we gave up. I’m really concerned !!

    • Beat Navy

      1st f-up by McPhee? Did you forget about 1) Shipachyov fiasco, 2) Overpaying for Tatar, Reaves, and others 3) Allowing Holden to continue to play hockey and 4) Putting us in the salary crunch to begin with? Cool so we got some more picks. Picks may turn into good players but my guess is a good player continuing to be a good player is far more likely.

      So tired of everyone thinking McPhee is some amazing GM. He is good, but not great.

  7. Beat Navy

    Are you f-ing kidding me?! So we decided to over pay “Healthy Scratch” Holden, Reaves, and old man Engelland instead of adding talent? Is McPhee really up there talking about chemistry when one of the players he could have traded doesn’t even play? Is this organization really this poor at evaluating talent? This guy could be an All-Star and you don’t want to pay him $4M?

    So now we are at the salary cap and all we did was give current players some bonuses. Terrible decision that will probably go down as a monumental blunder, in addition to screwing us out of Russian talent for a decade. Even if Gusev isn’t great, he is absolutely better than Reaves, Holden, or Engelland. I firmly believe he was the missing piece for a cup run. The league is laughing at us right now.

    Just so we are all clear, this team is worse, maybe even significantly worse, than last year, except now we are at the salary cap and unable to acquire talent. Of the (many) unforced errors GMGM has made, this is the most egregious and most damaging. Absolutely pathetic.

    • Mark

      I get it, I do. I wanted Gusev as much as you do. Ok, great points, I agree with most of what you said. When signing all our players, McPhee should have kept room for Gusev, I get that. Gusev and his agent really blundered. All the taxes, property taxes, regulations, he is gonna get hammered in New Jersey, which is ruled by Democrats, who punish high income people. Gusev made a mistake, his agent needs to have his head examined. Have fun paying millions to leftist politicians so they can hand your money to “the needy” for their own power. That’s a mistake, you will regret it.

      • Happy commie

        You should keep the politics on breitbart…

        • Mark

          Wrong, it plays a big role in contracts that pay 30 or 40 million. It’s a huge consideration, it’s our big draw !!!

          • Beat Navy

            I get your point about money but I heard he was looking for $4M in LV and got $4.5M in NJ so that extra probably covers the extra he will pay in taxes. Then again, you would have to pay me quite to bit more to live in one of the worst states in America.

            Gusev and his agent didn’t make the mistake here, McPhee did. He could have made it work but chose not to. Gusev knew his worth and I bet in two years $4.5M is going to look like a discount. Our cup window is 2-3 years tops so these picks won’t even pay off in time. Either way, we traded three players away and let two others walk and added not one single player. Then GM gets up there and talks about chemistry and how we are better than last year. Just asinine.

  8. vgk2019

    a 2nd round pick in 2021 will maybe be able to help the Knights in 2024. iow, Gusev will have 5 good years in NJ before McPhee gets a damn thing out of his draft pick, IF that pick even makes it.

    that answers the phony spin out of McPhee …..McPhee says “What we didn’t want to do was to tear the team apart to accomodate one player.”

    Miller, Haula, Gusev, Bellemare, and Carpenter all gone to basically accomodate one player…Nick Holden

  9. Joe

    Ray Shero is playing Chess while the rest of the GMs are struggling with Connect Four.

    Ok, let’s do this blind resume style. You get one of the following three options:

    1. The best player from the number 2 league in the world that had better numbers in said league than the biggest prize this offseason. This has the potential to make your third line the best in the league. 60+ goals seems inevitable as they will mostly see opposing 3rd and 4th lines and bottom defensemen. $4.5 AAV + rookie call up on defense, $5.4ish AAV. Making the contract $3-$3.5 with incentives can work and will keep you below the cap for this season.

    2. You stick with known players Version 1. Re-sign a 4th line center that has maybe 2 productive years left and is still really good defensively and can anchor your penalty kill. Also, you keep a player coming off a major injury that you never made public. He will play wing on the third line as you want a center that is more responsible defensively. It’s not without risk, but you do have the new hotness people have been clamoring for in the wings. Third line is going to still be pretty good, but won’t have the ceiling of option #1. $4.55 AAV + rookie defenseman.

    3. You stick with known player Version 2. These players are on expiring contracts and you vastly overpaid for them. One plays on the 4th line and doesn’t play special teams. Barstool readers love him. The other is a defenseman slightly more mobile than the corpse of John Wayne that was just re-signed. $4.975 AAV

    Martin Erat play 881 games in the NHL, the odds that those two picks combine to hit that are not good. To play 50 NHL games, it is 43% for a 2nd round pick and 30% for a 3rd. Also, by the time either of those picks are ready for the NHL, the window with this group has been slammed shut. This is Filip Forsberg Part 2.

    I think this is still a playoff team, doesn’t feel like a Cup contender. Fleury was overworked and we have seen the best of him. Then there always the chance he could revert to the 2012-13 version when Fleurying was a thing.

  10. Jason Sheehan

    I know GMGM will never publicly say this (so don’t bother asking him Ken), but I wonder if the team saw something they didn’t like in Gusev’s character when was with the team for a week during the playoffs?

  11. SlowRZ

    I have a feeling GM tried to shop Holden/Reaves/Eakin but no one bit, so he traded Gusev for those picks.

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