Screenshot: Washington Capitals
Saturday was “breakdown day” for the Washington Capitals. The day symbolically represents the final day of the 2022-23 season for the team, as players hold final meetings with management and hold their final media availability with local press.
With the Capitals missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, the team and Head Coach Peter Laviolette, whose contract was set to expire on June 30, mutually agreed to part ways yesterday.
“He’s a great person, good coach”, said Center Evgeny Kuznetsov on the departure of his fourth bench boss since joining the Caps during the 2013-14 season (the last occasion on which the team failed to qualify for the postseason), “We spend lot of time together, watching the video clips [chuckling], he has a great wife, great family, so only good stuff to him.”
With the Caps in for what will likely be a busy offseason, next season will likely be one of many new looks for all involved.
“I think for us, it just one day hoping everybody gonna be healthy, and we can play healthy […]”, said Kuznetsov on a fresh start. “…It’s not about how fast you skate, it’s how fast you think and how fast you move the puck, so I’m pretty sure whoever is going to be coach here is going to spend some time with that and we’re going to come out hot”, he finished, responding to comments made by Nicklas Backstrom.
Kuznetsov, who posted 24 Goals and 78 Points in 79 Games Played last season, recorded just 12 and 55, respectively, in 81 contests in 2022-23. While he did not wish to evaluate his performance, the 2010 first-round pick offered an assessment of his dip in goal-scoring.
“I have nothing to comment about that at this point in time, sorry”, Kuznetsov replied, “I still need a little more time…fought till the end, trying to get healthy, and all that stuff. But just wasn’t there so I got to sit and think why is all happening, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna come back stronger next year.”
“I feel like last year, there was a few more breakaways, and this year just two breakaways, so I think some of those high-danger shots I used to have I didn’t have this year. There’s a lot of time to think about and refocus but I’m pretty sure I’m going to find a solution.”
In his press conference, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan expressed dissatisfaction with Kuznetsov’s game this season.
“Probably disappointed in it. I think it wasn’t as good as last year. I liked his season last year, he played well. For whatever reason, he never quite found his game. I mean there were stretches where I thought he played well, but overall I think he underperformed the season he had last year.”
The 31-year old forward, who has played his entire 10-season career in Washington, has once again found himself in the offseason trade rumor mill. He was not asked about this in his exit interview, although Kuznetsov described his emotions surrounding the team’s failure to play into the summer as “very low”.
Report: Kuznetsov’s Agents To Speak With Washington GM MacLellan
To hear Kuznetsov’s full comments, see below:
Best thing that could happen for both the team and Kuzy would be a trade in that the team gets picks and he gets a new start somewhere.
Picks for a top 1-2C yeah that’s a good deal.
I want to know on what planet Kuznetsov is considered a “top” center? NHL.com didn’t even put him on its Top 20 list of centers last summer, and he’s got worse since then. Sporting News didn’t have him in their Top 20 either.
So who exactly is ranking him as a “top center”? Besides yourself? Anyone?
A 2C is top 64
A 2C is.
He wrote “top” 2C. Malkin is a top 2C. Krejci is a top 2C. Kuznetsov isn’t.
You are insufferable.
Just a note for all the “Keep Kuzy” apologists: He changed agents a few months ago. Now why, if he wanted to stay, and still has two years on his contract, would he change agents? And why would said new agents be meeting with MacLellan? Only one answer, Folks. He wants out.
Jake Debrusk wanted out. The new coach got him to excel and he is happy the team his happy.
Jake Debrusk isn’t taking up 10% of Boston’s salary cap, and isn’t expected to be a driving force on their team. He’s a role player.
That’s a real reach
I’m over the Kuzy experiment. Unfortunately his stock is at an all time low. He really gave us the shaft.
He and the fools that drafted him. Now you know why he lasted until pick #26 in the first round. The Caps Gm is great for taking many Russian players that either don’t make it or have problems. Also they had to wait for him for 4 years before he could leave Russia and then they overpaid him on his current contract. If the Caps didn’t have such a man crush on Russian players they could have passed on Kuzy and had Charlie Coyle or Brock Nelson or even Justin Faulk. WOW, what a let down to get Kuzy and his mental problems.
With this poorly run organization why wouldn’t he want out. We apologists can watch him thrive in a better environment. Wouldn’t be the first to do so.
He will thrive somewhere else forsure. Strome and Backy got the minutes and he got demoted. This teams depth is going to take a massive hit if he goes.
A better environment than the one that picked Dylan Strome off the scrap heap, and turned him into a 65 point player?
The excuses for Kuznetsov are ever more fascinating. Keep rationalizing folks.
It’s all about the right player on the right seat on the bus. Both Kuzy and Mantha are good players but weren’t on the right seat this season. Some of that goes on Lavi and some goes on the player… it takes both sides.
Either of those two can find better seats with the Caps and a new coach. Both are legit top 6 players so with a pragmatic view and without the recency bias that was influenced by the role they played Both will fetch good:great value.
Much like Sammy and Vanecek, I think both sides will benefit from a win:win trade. I think at least one of them will have to be a hockey trade with legit NHL talent coming back. I could see a three team trade to accomplish that.