How much should the New York Islanders trade for a top-six winger? How would a good prospect and a second-round pick sound?
He hasn’t played a single game in the NHL, but Vegas Golden Knights forward Nikita Gusev is an interesting trade target for the New York Islanders.
Just last week he was rumored to be available via trade. Now the word is that early trade talks have a low return for the 82 point player in the KHL last season.
The Athletics Jesse Granger (subscription required) indicates that preliminary trade talks have the Golden Knights getting back a second-round pick and a lower-tier prospect in return for Gusev.
"League sources have told The Athletic that most preliminary trade talks for Gusev included a second-round pick, with a later pick or lower-tier prospect attached."
Granger, with the help of Dom Luszczyszyn, did a great job of showing how Gusev ranks compared to other productive KHL’ers that eventually made the move to the NHL.
Only Alex Radulov (1.20), Ilya Kovalchuk (1.01), and Jaromir Jagr (0.91) have more points-per-game over their KHL careers than Gusev (0.87). Based on Luszczyszyn’s models, Gusev could be a 1.06 PPG in the NHL.
It’s a strong “could”, but one thing is clear, the potential for a great player is there. And if it costs a second-round pick and say Mitchel Vande Sompel Lou Lamoriello has to make that trade.
Sure. Lamoriello could offer sheet Gusev. The Russian winger is asking to be paid $4 million per season for two years according to Granger. A four million AAV offer sheet, assuming the Golden Knights don’t match, would return only a single second-round pick.
Theoretically, Lou could get Gusev for only a second-round pick.
But there’s a reason we’ve only seen one offer sheet since 2013, GMs hate them. And Lou isn’t about to rock the boat here. Although he absolutely should. Vegas is already over the cap ceiling, there’s no way they could or would match a $4 million offer sheet.
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Paying a second and a lower-tier prospect is a good price to pay to get Nikita Gusev from Vegas. Lou needs to seize this opportunity to add a good player for a low price.