New Jersey Devils forward Nikita Gusev has been one of the few positives on a dismal season, but is he comparable to all-time greats?
While the New Jersey Devils’ 2019-20 campaign has been nothing short of a roller-coaster, forward Nikita Gusev’s performance on the ice has inclined by each passing month.
The 27-year-old and first-year NHL skater once found himself as a healthy scratch while sitting alongside future Hockey Hall of Famer, Patrik Elias, in a luxury suite at the Prudential Center earlier in the season.
Speaking of Elias, former Devils’ defenseman Ken Daneyko was asked an interesting question during MSG’s pregame broadcast for New Jersey-Toronto Maple Leafs contest on Tuesday night. The three-time Stanley Cup champion’s response, on the other hand, was bold.
How dialed in was #NJDevils Nikita Gusev against the Canadiens?
This dialed in: pic.twitter.com/0rQlIOBuDj
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) November 29, 2019
Daneyko compared Gusev to not only New Jersey’s all-time points leader in Elias, but a “young Scott Gomez.”
The fan-favorite was asked an open-ended question by Devils play-by-play announcer, Steve Cangialosi; “Nikita Gusev is the most creative Devils player since…”
Nikita Gusev is a prospect of the Vegas Golden Knights. He has some unreal skills 😱🔥 pic.twitter.com/lw3ov494vm
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) January 15, 2018
And, there it was. Gusev was mentioned the same category as two New Jersey skaters that won multiple Stanley Cups and went down as all-time greats in franchise history.
The chances are that it’s arguably still too early to determine whether or not Gusev belongs in the same discussion as Daneyko’s former teammates with Elias and Gomez.
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) January 14, 2020
An interesting take nonetheless and one that’s promising for New Jersey fans, no?
The Russian native proved he was skilled skater in the Kontinental Hockey League overseas prior to joining the Devils, and No. 97 appeared confident out on the ice with Jersey over the past two months. It’s also fair to say that “Goose” is in fact ‘creative’ while proving the right-handed shooter can find the tight and open areas on the ice to create scoring opportunities for a lack-luster offensive Devils team.
His shifty skating abilities and head movements in addition to his sleek passes have also won over the hearts of a fanbase that’s thirsty for postseason hockey, but may not experience playing past the first weekend in April for, well, years.
Gusev has recorded eight goals and chipped in 19 helpers in 42 games played, after the Devils and goaltender Louis Domingue were run out of Toronto on Tuesday night.