The New Jersey Devils have waived Nikita Gusev with the intention of terminating his contract before the trade deadline on Monday. This comes after a long stretch of time where the 28-year-old Russian had not appeared in a game and wasn’t traded. Elliotte Friedman reported the move Friday morning.
Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for purposes of termination. Has not played since March 20, as young players take over in NJ. Was on waivers 9 days ago, but hit of $4.5M made it untradeable, unfortunately. This creates possibility of signing elsewhere at a lower number.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 9, 2021
Devils Terminate Nikita Gusev
2020-21 represents a massive failure for the once-valuable Gusev. He contributed just two goals and five points in 20 games while averaging 13:32 per contest. He was doing a great job driving offence with a 55.0 percent Corsi For and 3.1 relative Corsi, but he wasn’t producing the raw numbers that the Devils needed. It’s a steep drop from 2019-20 when the talented forward scored 13 goals and 44 points in 66 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning originally selected Gusev in the seventh round of the 2012 Draft. They traded him to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 prior to the expansion draft. Vegas then flipped him to New Jersey in 2019 for a pick in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts. Throughout Gusev’s history, he has shown he can be a talented scoring threat. He posted at least 60 points in three consecutive seasons with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL before coming to North America. He may not have worked out as part of the Devils’ rebuild cycle, but he remains a quality middle-six option for the right team.
What This Means For The Future
This move gives Gusev a prime opportunity to find a new home where he can excel. He may not make as much money as he was with New Jersey, but there are several teams who might call the Russian forward about his services. Someone like the Boston Bruins may be especially inclined to reach out given their lack of depth scoring.
For New Jersey, this merely indicates that they will lean even harder on their young core. The team is still near the bottom of their division’s standings, but they have several bright spots this year that should give fans some optimism. Look for those same youngsters to have even more opportunities as the team approaches the trade deadline.
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