Report: Kuznetsov’s Agents To Speak With Washington GM MacLellan

After the Washington Capitals’ season ended on Thursday night, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported that center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s agents, Don Meehan and Craig Oster of Newport Sports, will meet with GM Brian MacLellan regarding a possible offseason trade.

“My understanding is Meehan and Oster plan to speak with [MacLellan] at some point about Kuznetsov, who still has two more years on his contract at a $7.8 million AAV,” LeBrun wrote in his latest NHL rumblings piece. “You may remember, as I reported two years ago, that at the time [Washington was] taking calls on Kuznetsov, but a trade never came to fruition. I think they’re happy they kept him around. But I wonder how that conversation goes with the new agents and [Capitals] management. Something to monitor.”

Kuznetsov led Washington in assists (43) and finished third in points (55) in 81 games this past season. Though, he also finished with a career-low -26 rating.

Kuznetsov has 165 goals and 551 points in 680 career NHL regular-season games, all in Washington, and has a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract. He has also earned 29 goals and 67 points in 87 career postseason outings, including when he led the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 32 points (including 12 goals) in 24 games.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Friday’s 32 Thoughts Podcast that Washington is “really going to explore” the possibility and said ”I would expect them to find a way to move Kuznetsov” this offseason.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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23 Responses to Report: Kuznetsov’s Agents To Speak With Washington GM MacLellan

  1. Hopeful Caps fan says:

    The Caps keep him for next season unless they by some miracle they get Bedard. He is still a viable top 2 center in the league and I would a new coaching staff will do wonders for him. I would rather see mantha moved for a top 6 wing that can pring speed and finish the the line up

    • hockeydruid says:

      Mantha not going anywhere unless you include a pick or take back an equally bad contract. Better to let him ride the bench in the rafters and use him if needed. Maybe, just maybe, next year being his UFA year he might just get jumpstarted so that either by trade deadline he can be traded or he will realize that the last 2 years have hurt him and he has to show something now to get a new contract other than a try out.

      • KimRB says:

        I agree with you, Druid. See, we find common ground sometimes.

        The best solution long term, is just to bite the bullet, and let the bad contracts expire. That way, you’re not spending assets to get rid of the trash. We need all the futures we can get now.

    • KimRB says:

      You may as well face the truth. It doesn’t matter anymore what the fans or management wants. It seems that the Russian report from a few weeks ago was true. He wants out.

      Why exactly do you want to keep a player who doesn’t want to play for the Capitals? You actually WANT that cancer in the locker room? The team has no choice, but to trade him.

      • novafyre says:

        Why did Kuzy want to leave? Was it because of his teammates, Washington area, fans? Organization goals? Or perhaps the coaching staff.

        We’ll see what unfolds the next few weeks as more information (and propaganda) comes out of the Caps management, players, perhaps even Lavi (although I expect him to remain silent). We’ll see who leaves, who comes in.

        Now, with all those changes, does Kuzy still want to leave? He made those comments under one administration, one culture. We know that at least one piece will change (HC) and most of us are hoping for more (and may learn more from GMBM today). So will Kuzy change his desires? We’ll see.

        I’m not willing to call him a cancer yet. Maybe he was a catalyst.

        • KimRB says:

          I think there’s enough evidence to point to him as a problem, rather than an innocent victim.
          Powder video, suspended by the IIHF, and an NHL suspension for “inappropriate conduct”. Factor in that he looks disinterested at times, makes dumb plays by hotdogging the puck, and other things….We’ll probably never know the full extent of things, but I’d say it’s best to part ways now, while he still has value.

          • novafyre says:

            Agree there are things I don’t like but there are also things I do. I’d prefer waiting for a new coaching staff (and I mean staff, not just HC) first. We’ve traded players who have done very well in a different environment with different coaches. It’s not just bringing in new players but adjusting the roles of those staying. I’m in the wait a bit camp.

            • KimRB says:

              Fair enough, but you can’t wait too much longer. Every training camp that goes by means his value may be going down. He and Carlson are the most valuable commodities the team has, that are over the age of 26, other than Ovechkin, and he ain’t going anywhere. I really don’t like this wishy-washy, tread water, while slowly sinking, plan.

  2. hockeydruid says:

    I have no problem trading a player who can produce but sometimes fades into the background and pouts. I believe that like Samsonov he needs a different environment and a different set of coaches and it is better to move him now than wait. like this team often does, until it is to late and the player has little value or is a UFA. There is nothing wrong with trading players to get back picks or younger players. He should fetch a 1st and a 3rd and maybe even a developing player if traded now!! And this team can use the picks to restock Hershey. Somehow this Gm has to realize that there are more places to draft players from than Russia. I’m not saying don’t draft Russian players however unless they can come over immediately there is no need to wait years for them.

  3. KimRB says:

    Thanks for 2018, The Bird Man, and plenty of jaw dropping plays, that few humans can make.

    And thanks for the powder video, the bone headed giveaways, and lackadaisical play. You’ll look good in Dallas green, or Seattle black or Colorado maroon, or Philly orange, or whatever

    • Jason Babaoglu says:

      And who is filling in?

      • KimRB says:

        Whoever we draft at #8, McMichael, Lapierre or Backstrom

        If you think we’re anywhere NEAR contending for a Cup with this roster, I’ve got the 14th St Bridge to sell you. Tank next year, and pick franchise defenseman Aron Kiviharju.

        Y’all need to get over this “we need to replace him” jazz. If you keep him, or replace him, at best, you squeak into the playoffs and bow out in 4 or 5 games, to whoever wins the conference. If you move on, you start moving towards being a Cup contender in 3 or 4 years.

        • Jason Babaoglu says:

          My guy were running out of time with Ovi. Winning as to happen now, as soon as next season. Hate to break it to you but McM or Lapierre aren’t ready for 2-3C full time just yet. Maybe there are who knows but all I know is losing Kuzy for nothing will only make this team worse.

          • hockeydruid says:

            First Kuzy would bring a 1st and a 3rd and maybe even a prospect. and this teams needs that a lot more than someone doing a Bird Celebration 12 times a year. Heck man he didnt even score more goals than Sheary, Oshie (who missed a lot of games due to injury), only1 more than Milano but in 17 more games, 3 more than Carlson in 41 more games, and get this only 1 more than Mantha!! And 1 fewer than Down and 1 fewer than Wilson in 48 more games!!

            Second as this team is not going to compete for the Cup for at least 7-10 years why not play the kids in Hershey and if they play well good and if they don’t then we get higher picks to aid in the rebuild.

            Just a thought: At the very least, the Caps have nine roster spots up for grabs for next season, and the team on the ice in October will look vastly different than the one that played out the string. The focus of many Washington fans and the owner the next two seasons will be on Ovechkin’s chase of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record. Ovechkin has 822 goals, 72 behind Gretzky. Management must build a competitive roster around its star, preferably with as many younger players as possible. It’s a delicate balance, but it’s the best approach. Shaking up what is left of the the Cup core is going to be the hardest pill for the fans to swallow, but it seems necessary. The GM dealt Dmitry Orlov and Lars Eller, mainstays from the 2018 Stanley Cup team, at this season’s trade deadline. Similar moves could follow this summer. A combination of Nicklas Bäckström, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov probably won’t be Capitals next season. Kuznetsov has been named in trade rumors and seems most likely to go. Turning Backy and Oshie into either coaches or scouts would also help the team by reducing salary cap and making room for younger players like Frank, CMM, Lapierre, Snively, Malenstyn, Borgstrom, Protas, and maybe even this years 1st round pick .

            • Marky says:

              HD I’d love for you to be right about the return for. a Kuzy trade but I’m not a believer in it. I am more pessimistic and think they will have to take back another teams problem. Then you have ‘new problem guy’ and Mantha still. Maybe in Bmac’s talks with the agents they change his mind with a coaching move he likes. Otherwise I think we take a loss.

          • KimRB says:

            I can guarantee you, Spanky, I’ve seen more of McMichael and Lapierre, than you have.
            Keeping CMac in the AHL isn’t helping his development anymore. Lapierre might need a few more months in the AHL, but he’s close.
            When exactly will they be ready? What more do they need to work on? Details please.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is there a way to block these two?

  5. GRin430 says:

    Kuznetsov is a very talented player who makes some sublime plays, but unfortunately is still a net negative to the team. Not just plus/minus on the stat sheet: he’s a center who doesn’t win his fair share faceoffs or play a 200-foot game. He forces others on the team to play hard minutes because he can’t (or won’t). That adds up over a season, and over multiple seasons. Therefore, despite his obvious gifts as a puck handler and passer, I truly believe they are better off without him.

    That doesn’t mean he won’t go somewhere else and contribute. But his track record — and it isn’t a short one at this point — says that even if he has a renaissance, it won’t last. This isn’t a Stephenson or Forsberg situation, where the Caps never gave the kids a chance. He’s a veteran in his 30s with a pretty long baggage train.

    There are teams that are deep enough that they can afford to have a part-time player that they can use for only limited minutes or situations, or whose faults can be covered by line-mates and superstar defenders. But that isn’t where the Caps roster is right now. They need somebody to step up and truly be a 1- or 2C. He has never really been one, except during the Cup run.

    They may have to go a while hunting for that top C. But maybe they get lucky at ping-pong. Or maybe they free up enough cap space to afford a top free agent C this year or next. But Kuznetsov is clearly not the right guy to bring them back to the top of the league, next year or ever.

    We outsiders don’t have any idea what he would bring back in return, if anything. It doesn’t matter. Just freeing up even half of the cap space he eats would be helpful to a team that doesn’t currently have the cap room to even ice a full squad when multiple players get dinged up.

    It’s time to move on. He apparently knows it. The fan base just needs to accept it.

  6. dwgie26 says:

    Kuzy also needs a change. Fine. Move him. That won’t be the only trade but the return 2C doesn’t need to be part of this trade.

    But we need to bring in two new Top 6 if we move him.

    Not sure I love Strome, Backstrom, McMichael, Dowd down the middle. But if we get two new top 6 I could be down with it. And hopefully one of those two can play center if needed.

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