— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) March 8, 2014
Caps PR – The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on an entry-level contract beginning this season, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Kuznetsov, 21, played in 31 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, recording 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and 12 penalty minutes. The 6’3”, 200-pound center ranks fourth on the team in points and assists. Kuznetsov led Chelyabinsk in scoring in each season from 2010-13 and finished tied for sixth in the league in scoring (44 points) last season. Kuznetsov was named to the KHL All-Star game in 2012. Kuznetsov represented Russia at the World Junior Championships three times (2010, 2011, 2012), earning a gold medal in 2011 and a silver medal in 2012. During the 2011 tournament, he recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games, including three assists in Russia’s 5-3 win over Canada in the gold medal game. Kuznetsov finished tied for second in the tournament in points and was named a First Team All-Star. Kuznetsov served as captain of the Russian team at the 2012 World Junior Championship. He recorded 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in six games and collected First Team All-Star, Best Forward and Most Valuable Player honors at the tournament. In 210 career regular-season KHL games with Chelyabinsk, Kuznetsov has recorded 146 points (65 goals, 81 assists) and 124 penalty minutes. The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native was drafted by the Capitals in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Kuznetsov will wear No. 92 with Washington.
So overly optimistic and happy about this, and I invite you to join me. He could be playing as soon as Monday. Should I be rocking a chubby about a 21 year old who didn’t excel in the K? Maybe not. But I am. If anything, it’ll give him an extra 20 or so games of experience. He’ll meet his teammates, learn from some of the best, and have an entire offseason in the USA to work on his game.