The Tampa Bay Lightning are believed to have a deal in place to shield their young defenceman from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports Russian prospect Nikita Gusev could be headed to Vegas in that trade.

Smtih reported Tuesday he was hearing the two sides had reached a deal, while TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie specualted the trade may be to ensure the Golden Knights take Jason Garrison as their expansion pick.

Gusev, 24, was a seventh-round pick of the Lightning in 2012 but has spent his entire career playing in the KHL. Smith reports Gusev has one year left on his contract with SKA St. Petersburg before he could be heading to the NHL.

Embedded ImageThe Golden Knights signed KHL sniper Vadim Shipachyov to a two-year contract earlier in the off-season and have been reported to be working on a deal with Evgeny Dadonov - Gusev played on a line with both players this season.

Russian news outlet believes the Golden Knights are trying to reunite the trio, who also played together on Russia's bronze medal winning team at the world hockey championship last month.

Gusev scored 24 goals and tallied 71 points in 57 regular-season games this year and added seven goals and 23 points in 18 playoff games. He then scored seven goals and 14 points in 10 games at the world hockey championship.