New Jersey Devils: 5 Deals To Win Trade Deadline

Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils left wing Nikita Gusev (97): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /

Nikita Gusev is a very interesting player, but this year he’s been a very terrible player. He has some of the worst advanced statistics in the league, and he’s obviously just in his own head every time the Devils give him a shot to play in an NHL game. The trade with the Vegas Golden Knights has been a bust, and Gusev just never showed the promise it seemed like he had coming out of the KHL.

There was a time when he was really productive on NHL ice, but this season those flashes aren’t coming. He has five points this season. However, he’s one of the best “change of scenery” candidates in the NHL. Putting him in a new uniform might be all he needs to tear up this league. He has all the skills, but something is just off. The Penguins have made moves for middle-six wingers and made them superstars before.

Imagine Gusev with Evgeni Malkin. Those two could tear up the playoffs, and it could end the Penguins streak of playoff disappointments. If all it would cost is a 2022 3rd-round pick and a salary match, Brian Burke and Ron Hextall would be all over that.

The cap issues would be complicated. Frederick Gaudreau is just someone to try and make this salary work. The Devils would have to retain some salary, and they’d probably have to retain the full 50%. Gaudreau isn’t necessarily the player, but it would have to be someone who could get the Penguins to the number since they really only have $250,000 to spend.

The teams can work out the salary cap issues. The point is Gusev would be a great piece for the Penguins, and the Devils could get a future asset for him. Gusev getting any kind of draft pick would be considered a win. The Pens don’t have many draft picks this season, so sending them a 2021 5th rounder might help get the deal moving.