NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils today acquired left wing Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for New Jersey's third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and the club's second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Additionally, the club has agreed to terms with the restricted free agent on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4,500,000. The contract breakdown is as follows: 2019-20: $5,000,000 and 2020-21: $4,000,000; The announcement was made by New Jersey Devils Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.
Video: ANALYSIS | Nikita Gusev Trade
Gusev, 27, spent the 2018-19 season with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, where he totaled 17 goals and 65 assists for 82 points with 10 penalty minutes and a +39 rating in 62 games. He led the KHL in assists and points and was selected to his fourth KHL All-Star Game. He also skated in 18 playoff contests, registering 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 points. Gusev came over to North America to join the Golden Knights during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs but did not play in any games. The right-shot forward was acquired by the Golden Knights at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning, along with a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
The 5-11, 180lb., forward has spent his entire professional playing career in the KHL, playing for Amur Khabarovsk (2012-2013), Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (2013-2016) and SKA St. Petersburg (2016-19) during his seven-season career. A veteran of 391 career regular-season KHL games, Gusev has totaled 119 goals and 213 assists for 332 points with 64 penalty minutes. He's added 28 goals and 40 assists for 68 points in 67 career KHL Playoff contests, winning the Gagarin Cup in 2017.
Gusev has represented his home country of Russia in multiple international competitions, including the 2012 World Junior Championships, 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. During the 2017 World Championships, Gusev captured the Bronze Medal and posted the most goals during the tournament. At the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Gusev helped lead Russia to winning the Gold Medal, recording four goals and eight assists for 12 points in six games played. His assist and point totals led all skaters. Born on July 8, 1992, he was Tampa Bay's eighth selection, 202nd overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.