Panthers sign Gusev to 1-year contract worth reported $1M

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

The Florida Panthers have signed free-agent forward Nikita Gusev to a one-year contract for the rest of the 2020-21 campaign, the team announced Sunday.

The deal carries a cap hit of $1 million, reports TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Gusev recently had his contract with the New Jersey Devils terminated after he cleared unconditional waivers.

"Nikita is a highly skilled and creative forward who plays the game with great speed and playmaking ability," Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. "He has proven himself to be a tremendous offensive talent throughout his career. We are thrilled for Nikita to join the Panthers and look forward to what he can add to our team."

The 28-year-old has had a miserable season, posting five points in 20 games with New Jersey. He was productive in 2019-20, though, recording 12 goals and 31 assists in 66 contests.

Gusev's underlying numbers are not favorable, however:

Gusev came to North America with considerable hype after a stellar 11-year career in the KHL. In his final season overseas, he racked up 82 points in 62 games with SKA Saint Petersburg. He also helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia capture gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, where he led the tournament in scoring.

The winger was originally a seventh-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. The Bolts traded his rights to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 as part of the expansion draft. Vegas then flipped Gusev to New Jersey in 2019 for second- and third-round picks.

Panthers sign Gusev to 1-year contract worth reported $1M
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