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New Jersey Devils Nikita Gusev Jerseys China

Following his trade to the Devils from the Vegas Golden Knights on July 29, new winger Nikita Gusev opened up about his crazy summer in his home country.
In a wide-ranging interview with Igor Eronko of Sport-Express in Russia, Gusev touched a variety of topics, including his relationship with the Golden Knights prior to the trade, his reaction to the Devils and what he expects when joining the NHL full time next season.

The Russian interview can be roughly translated via Google Translate, giving a general sense of Gusev’s answers.

Eronko also fully translated a few select answers on Twitter, starting with Gusev’s thoughts on his talks with the Devils before signing in New Jersey.

“The (Devils) showed me they very much need me. It’s very important for me and it tells a lot,” Gusev said, according to Eronko’s translation. “I followed them because my friend (Egor) Yakovlev played there so I have an idea what kind of a team it is. With all the new players I’m sure we can play well and win.”
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More Gusev: ‘The #NJDevils showed me they very much need me. It’s very important for me and it tells a lot. I followed them because my friend Yakovlev played there so I have an idea what kind of a team it is. With all the new players I’m sure we can play well and win’

— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 2, 2019
Following the trade and signing with the Devils, Gusev also talked on a conference call, with the help of a translator, with Devils GM Ray Shero, coach John Hynes and others.

That introductory meeting help set the groundwork for the working relationship between player and team, though the two sides didn’t dive into the nitty-gritty or specifics of his role in New Jersey.

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Gusev, a right-handed shooter, played left wing in the KHL. And while the idea of playing right wing in the NHL wasn’t discussed on that conference call, Gusev said he would be comfortable on either side.

“Nobody asked me in the (Devils) if I could play RW, but I played there before,” Gusev said, per Eronko’s translation. “Maybe on small NHL rinks it would be more comfortable for me to play RW.”
More Gusev: ‘Nobody asked me in the #NJDevils if I could play RW, but I played there before. Maybe on small NHL rinks it would be more comfortable for me to play RW’. Now he trains a lot to get himself prepared for the season and has English classes every day

— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 2, 2019
While Gusev is still conducting his offseason training in Russia, he said he tries to spend about one hour each day learning English from a teacher to help him transition to his first season in North America.

Gusev has played in his native Russia during his entire pro career, even after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Draft. His rights were traded to Vegas in 2017 prior to the team’s expansion draft, and after signing a one-year entry-level contract with the Golden Knights in April, the team did not have the cap room to ink Gusev as a restricted free agent this summer, leading to his trade to the Devils.

Like any player transitioning to the NHL from the KHL at any point, Gusev will have a transition to make playing on a smaller ice against an uptick in competition. He still has a high bar for his personal goals.
When asked about his own expectations for production in the NHL, Gusev didn’t put a number on himself, but he wants to chase the 128-point season just completed by fellow Russian Nikita Kucherov, who won the MVP award with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Is it a good bar? I will reach for (Kucherov),” Gusev said, via Google Translate. “And there already how it will turn out – maybe not all at once, but of course there is a goal.”

 

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After the 3pm NHL trade deadline passed reports came out that the New Jersey Devils have acquired Patrick Maroon from the Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 3rd round pick and a prospect, thought to be J.D. Dudek.
Patrick Maroon will bring much needed offensive help to the Devils, especially with Marcus Johansson still sidelined with a concussion. This season Maroon currently has 30 points with 57 games played. Last season he scored a career high 27 goals and a total of 42 points as the Oilers made the playoffs for the first time since going to the Stanley Cup final in 2006. He also had 8 points in Edmonton’s 13 playoff games. In his career Maroon has 26 points in 42 playoff games.

As well as the ability to generate points and scoring chances Maroon will bring some size and grit, over 300 hits last season and this year, whether he plays in the top-6 or on the 3rd line. He won’t be the tallest Devil but will be the second biggest body, Brian Boyle being the biggest Devil. As a team the Devils are averaging 46 hits this season. Patrick Maroon is currently at 119 for the season.

Another very nice move by GM Ray Shero. Bringing in another offensive talent with an eye for points in the postseason. Perhaps Ray should keep Peter Chiarelli on his speed dial when teams can start dealing again this summer.

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The banner years read from 1991 to 2004. Of course, everyone knows his career concluded in 2010 with the Anaheim Ducks. Yet, what if he had stayed with the New Jersey Devils his entire career? What if his story went the other way with Rob Niedermayer eventually joining Scott with the Devils in 2009-10? How would history have been different?

Devils History
In 2003-04 the Devils were defending Stanley Cup champions and playing at a high level under head coach Pat Burns. With Ken Daneyko retired, Scott Stevens dealing with concussion problems and on his legs, Niedermayer was becoming the face of the franchise, earning the captaincy.

Despite this changing of the guard, the Devils still managed to yield a league-low 164 goals. It didn’t hurt matters to have a Vezina Trophy-winning Martin Brodeur in nets with his 11 shutouts either.

Everything was rolling for Niedermayer, placing third on the club with 54 points, earning his first Norris Trophy. His 25:56 average time on the ice paced the squad and his 6.9 defensive point shares topped the circuit.

 

Then, the Devils were bounced by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the lockout followed with a dramatically altered landscape.

Scott Stays
Points-wise there wasn’t much of a drop-off following his departure. Through his final season, the Devils recorded point totals of 101, 107, 99, 106 and 103. Yet, one could argue those clubs were built for the regular season.

If Niedermayer had stayed, there’d likely have been no Vladimir Malakhov reunion, no Dan McGillis signing only to play with AHL Albany and Lowell. The organization would have kept its 2007 first round draft choice, rather than trading it, Malakhov and his salary to the San Jose Sharks, a pick the St. Louis Blues eventually used on David Perron. The team could’ve conceivably used the pick on another defenseman with the departure of Brian Rafalski. Heck, maybe the money would have been there to retain Rafalski.