With trade rumors swirling around Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov after two stints on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol this season, a year full of inconsistencies from the 28-year-old, and a suspension by the organization for a game this month, GM Brian MacLellan told the media at his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday that “I think we’re always open to trading people if it makes sense for what’s going on. If it’s going to make our team better, I think we’re open to it.”
Daily ask: the Capitals should:
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) May 24, 2021
MacLellan also called Kuznetsov the “key” to the team’s success and said that they need more from him after he posted just nine goals and 29 points in 41 games this season.
When asked directly if he would consider trading Kuznetsov at some point this offseason, MacLellan replied, “I don’t think anyone is off the table” with the exception of captain Alex Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom.
MacLellan acknowledged that it is tough to evaluate Kuznetsov’s season because he dealt with COVID-19 twice and the effects of getting the virus are still something that the world is trying to understand.
MacLellan said it’s tough to evaluate Kuznetsov’s season because he dealt with COVID twice. #ALLCAPS
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) May 26, 2021
He added the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 because they had a great 1-2 punch at center. “We need [Kuznetsov] to play at his highest ability,” MacLellan told the media. He admitted that if Kuznetsov does not, the Capitals are not a very good team.
By Harrison Brown