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Bolts Prospect of the Week: Nikita Gusev

by Doug Spencer / Tampa Bay Lightning

As fans watched NHL players attempt nifty moves in Saturday’s All-Star Shootout competition, spectators in far-away Russia were smitten by a young Bolts prospect. At the KHL All-Star Game skills competition in Sochi, uber-talented forward Nikita Gusev picked the puck up between his legs and buried it in a spin-o-rama lacrosse-type move. The video of the goal has more than 3 million views on YouTube.

The Moscow, Russia, native is in his third season with Yugra in the KHL, Russia’s top-league. The left winger is having his best professional season in the KHL this year with 18 goals and 28 points in 45 games. His goal total alone is higher than his previous career-best point total of 14.

The Lightning selected Gusev in the seventh round, 202nd overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He has a dynamic skill set and can produce offensive chances whenever he is on the ice. At 5-foot-9, 163 pounds, Gusev is not big in stature but makes up for it with his strong skating ability and puck sense.

Gusev has skated for three different teams so far in the KHL: Yugra, Amur and CSKA. Last season with Yugra, he recorded eight goals and 14 points in 44 games. To date, he has skated in a total of 152 KHL games and recorded 33 goals along with 59 points.

Before making his professional debut, Gusev put up some impressive numbers in the MHL, the Russian junior league. During the 2011-12 season with CSKA 2, Gusev sniped at a rate of .88 goals per game, notching 30 in 34 contests. He managed to put up some gaudy point totals that season as well, finishing with 76.

In 2010-11 Gusev potted 22 goals and 59 points in 38 MHL games, showcasing the impressive offensive abilities the young forward has.

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