He’s finally coming to DC. No, really.
From the press release:
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.
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.
This is great news for all those that have waited patiently for four years as Kuznetsov pursued his dream of playing in the Olympics for host Russia earlier this year, only to have that dream spoiled by injury.
Kuznetsov, obviously, won’t address the Capitals most pressing need of upgrading the defensive corps — but neither did any of the other moves GM George McPhee made at the trade deadline. One step at a time, we suppose. But Kuznetsov will bring another dynamic playmaker to the ice for the Caps, a creative offensive player much in the mold of his new captain.
Caps fans have to remember that Kuznetsov, despite being a rumor around these parts for the last five years, is still just 21 years old and has never played on the smaller rinks in North America yet. There will be an adjustment period for the youngster, but it now sounds like that adjustment period will start Monday against the Penguins.