Opinion: Three NHL teams adding new players, potential difference makers in playoffs
With the 2019 NHL playoffs looking wide open, teams are aggressively bringing in young reinforcements to find an edge.
The Vegas Golden Knights announced they have signed Nikita Gusev, 26, who led the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League in scoring with 82 points in 62 games. He is expected to be given an opportunity to play immediately.
Gusev is a skilled playmaker and could help the Golden Knights match the San Jose Sharks’ high-powered offense. The first-round series is tied 1-1.
With the game becoming younger and faster, adding young skilled players late in the season is becoming more popular.
Gusev is the third top prospect to be signed during these playoffs.
The Colorado Avalanche signed first-round draft pick defenseman Cale Makar out of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the Columbus Blue Jackets added Vladislav Gavrikov, a defenseman.
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Defenseman Cale Makar won the Hobey Baker Award as college's top player. (Photo: Jeffrey T. Barnes, AP)
Makar, 20, the No. 4 pick overall in 2017, is a dynamic puck-moving defenseman who won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s best player. He can be spotted into the Avalanche lineup and give the offense a charge. The series between Colorado and the Calgary Flames is tied 1-1.
In 41 games this season, Makar scored 16 goals. He adds another difference-maker to the Colorado power play.
Gavrikov, 23, has played six seasons in the KHL and he’s believed to be NHL ready. He’s a 6-3 two-way defenseman who led the KHL in plus-minus (+48). He played on Russia’s gold-medal-winning 2018 Olympic team. The Blue Jackets lead their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0.
At the end of the regular season, the Nashville Predators signed Boston University defenseman Dante Fabbro and he's playing in their top six in the playoffs.
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