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New York Islanders: Miss Chance At Cheap Top Six Upgrade

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 23: Nikita Gusev #97 of Olympic Athlete from Russia looks on in the first period against Czech Republic during the Men's Play-offs Semifinals on day fourteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 23, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 23: Nikita Gusev #97 of Olympic Athlete from Russia looks on in the first period against Czech Republic during the Men's Play-offs Semifinals on day fourteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 23, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders again sat idly by as the New Jersey Devils went out and got better by acquiring Nikita Gusev from Vegas.

The theme so far for the 2019 offseason has been watching other teams in the Metro get better while the New York Islanders move laterally on July 1 and then don’t do anything else when it comes to improving the team.

Yesterday, the Devils were the team getting better for a relatively cheap price. For a third-round pick in 2020 and a second-rounder in 2021, the Devils landed Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights.

They then inked him to a two-year $9 million deal ($4.5 million AAV). Gusev has never played in the NHL but over the last three years in the KHL he’s put up 214 points. He just turned 27 so he’s younger than most guys who try to make the push over to the NHL.

Some Islander fans will point to the Jan Kovar saga from last year, but Gusev is different. He was putting up better numbers than both Artemi Panarin and Alexander Radulov in the KHL. Yes, you don’t know if that translates but for a second and third-rounder and $4.5 million on the cap, it’s worth the swing.

As it stands right now, the Isles don’t have a ton of options for the second line. Adding someone like Gusev, who could’ve been a placeholder until Bellows and/or Wahlstrom are ready would’ve made a ton of sense.

Now, we will either see Anthony Beauvillier or Tom Kuhnhackl on that second line in all likelihood. As the offseason continues to go on, and the calendar will soon be flipped to August fans are growing impatient. We’re waiting, Lou.

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