Caps Lock Up Kuznetsov on an Eight-year Deal

Photo: Washington Capitals

Having already locked up three of their restricted free agents, the Caps continued checking off their offseason to-do list of signing their RFAs to new contracts with the signing of second-line center and budding superstar to a long-term eight-year, $62.4 million deal, per CSN MidAtlantic’s Tarik El-Bashir.

The length and average annual value (AAV) – $7.8 million – of Kuznetsov’s contract signifies his importance to the future of the Capitals. (Contract info here)

Drafted by the Capitals in the first-round (26th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Kuznetsov delayed his NHL career by four years to play for his hometown team, Traktor Chelyabinsk. After making his debut late in the 2013-14 season, Kuznetsov showed a flash of his potential with nine points in 17 games played. His first full season in the NHL was arguably the hardest one of Kuznetsov’s short career.

After playing his entire hockey career in Russia, Kuznetsov experienced some growing pains adapting to the smaller NHL rinks and the fast pace of the NHL game, but still finished the season with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games played. The Capitals official statement by General Manager Brian MacLellan:

“Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years”. It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL.” 

His second full season in the NHL saw Kuznetsov emerge as one of the NHL’s budding young superstars, as he established himself as the Caps’ second-line center with 20 goals, 57 assists, and 77 points in 82 games played. He finished as the team’s leading scorer. This past season saw the 25-year old center struggle at the start of the season as he finished with just 19 points in 35 games played in the first three months of the regular season. However, he finished up the final months of the season well and finished the season with 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 82 games played.

During his short career in the NHL, Kuznetsov has proven himself worthy of a long-term contract and has been rewarded accordingly. While his delay likely caused frustration for some fans, there’s no denying that Kuznetsov was certainly worth the wait.

The question now becomes what the Capitals will do about the remaining two RFAs, Andre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer. With so little space and both players due for a big raise, the Caps are in a very tough spot.

CapFriendly contract information is here:

By Michael Fleetwood

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About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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