The Vegas Golden Knights continue to get closer and closer to signing the KHL’s best player, Nikita Gusev. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Gusev is expected to arrive in Las Vegas tonight and could sign his one-year, entry-level deal as soon as tomorrow and should be ready to play not long after that. The Golden Knights are then expected to sign the then-restricted free agent to a long-term deal this summer.
In fact, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger (subscription required) analyzes what kind of impact the 26-year-old might have on the Vegas lineup, especially considering the star winger has little experience playing on North American hockey rinks and considering Vegas’ depth, there is no guarantee that head coach Gerard Gallant would play him when every game is so critical. Gallant said as much:
“I don’t know much about him. George (McPhee) mentioned it today. There are some reports out there. If he can join us then we’ll see what’s going to happen, but I don’t know the player well enough. Hopefully he does join us and he gets some practice time in with us, but I have no idea if that’s going to happen. It was first mentioned this morning to me.”
Granger suggests that Gusev could find himself eventually on the Golden Knights’ third line alongside Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch, but even as the team knows it will bring the great KHLer aboard, there is still quite a mystery surrounding him.
- The Edmonton Oilers got some good news on star center Connor McDavid who suffered what looked to be a significant injury in their final regular season game last week. While he did suffer a small PCL tear in his knee, the injury will not require surgery and the superstar is expected to be ready for training camp, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Sportsnet’s John Shannon added that the injury will require three months of rehabilitation. The 22-year-old still had a career-high in points as he finished with 116, second in the league.
- Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre wonders whether the Vancouver Canucks might make some changes at the AHL level this offseason. The Utica Comets were considered to be a fascinating team to keep an eye on this season as the franchise was loaded in young talent. However, few of those young players actually showed any improvement and two of them found their way out of the organization as prospect Petrus Palmu opted to return home, while Jonathan Dahlen forced a trade to San Jose. Both were unhappy with the playing time under Utica head coach Trent Cull. In fact a number of prospects struggled under Cull, including 2017 second-rounders Kole Lind (three goals) and Jonah Gadjovich (four goals). That could force general manager Jim Benning to look into the situation in Utica a little closer.