Caps Draft More Russians! Part I: Evgeny “Kuzya” Kuznetsov

Capitals 2010 First Round Draft Pick Evgeny Kuznetsov

We feel pretty good about Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Capitals’  first-round draft pick. Why?

Well, first of all, George McPhee gave us the wink.

Here’s what we know:  Evgeny Kuznetsov played with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk and broke onto their roster at 17 years old, notching 2G, 6A, -6 in the regular season, and 4GP, 1G, 0A, +1 in the playoffs.  His last name means “[son of] a blacksmith”.

When asked a few months before the draft, Evgeny said he wanted to be drafted by the Rangers, but his attitude since draft day has been effusively positive.  Fans call him the “Malkin of Chelyabinsk”;  scouts say he’s reminiscent of Alex Semin.  This writer sees this physical, two-way player– comfortable at both center and left wing– and thinks he may best fit Brooks Laich’s mold.

Here’s what Kuznetsov said after the draft.

On getting drafted by the Caps:

I wanted to be drafted by a good team, and I wanted it to be a team with Russians.

[…]

I want to play for the Capitals as soon as possible, but I understand that I may not been ready yet.  I wasn’t very nervous about the draft, because I knew my pick number isn’t up to me.

[…]

[When McPhee called my name I felt] tired. I was very glad I didn’t have to go the next day.

[…]

The last name on draft jerseys is velcro. It doesn’t matter that it was not my name. The main thing is that I was chosen.

[…]

I’m happy Caps choosed one more Russian! Stas is a great guy and he’s my comrade.

On his awesome photo shoot:

[The photo shoot] was very, very quick. In Russia, people usually make fun of photo shoots, but this wasn’t like that.  I could joke and, who knows, someone might not get the right idea about me.

[...]

On that photo, I was to pop out behind the curtain and show some look on my face. I did it, and it was published right away. Good photo, I’ll keep it for my whole life!

And the immediate future:

There are some options in my contract with Traktor.  Too early to say about them.

There are two years left on Kuznetsov’s contract, which means that he may have to buy out some or all of that remaining time.   In any case, it’s likely we’ll see Kuznetsov in the area before too long.

Videos

For those of you who can’t wait until Development Camp to get your first taste of “The Blacksmith,” here is video of a few of Kuznetsov’s more celebrated goals. First, check out this goal (via sportbox.ru) where Evgeny scored a GWG with his powerful slapshot. It was considered among the best goals in the KHL that week. (And yes, we totally dig the Ovechkin leap into the boards!)

Next, if you hit play on the above YouTube, you can view Evgeny’s first goal of his KHL career. Please note the nod to Alex Semin where Kuznetsov sells forehand and goes backhand on this semi-breakaway.

If you love terrible defense, then this next clip is for you. In a game against Austria in the U18 World Junior Championships, Kuznetsov uses his blazing speed to zoom past the defender and break in alone on goal. How does this man finish? The only way he knows how: Forehand. Backhand. Celebrate.

Finally, Kuznetsov shows that he has a sweet wrist shot, too. Watch above as he fires this wicked dart from no angle past that poor, poor Austrian goaltender.

The Caps Go Red

Evgeny Kuznetsov is only the latest in the Capitals long history with Russian draft picks. Since 1984, Washington has drafted 25 Russian born players.

  1. 1984 (11th round-225th overall) Mikhail Tatarinov
  2. 1988 (6th-120th) Dmitri Khristich*
  3. 1989 (11th-229th) Andriy Sidorov*
  4. 1990 (6th-114th) Andrey Kovalev
  5. 1992 (1st-14th) Sergei Gonchar
  6. 1994 (11th-275th) Sergey Tertyshny
  7. 1994 (5th-145th) Dmitri Mekeshkin
  8. 1994 (1st-15th) Alexander Kharlamov
  9. 1995 (8th-199th) Vasili Turkovsky
  10. 1996 (8th-206th) Oleg Orekhovsky
  11. 1996 (3rd-58th) Sergey Zimakov
  12. 1996 (1st-4th) Alexandre Volchkov
  13. 1999 (9th-249th) Igor Schadilov
  14. 1999 (8th-219th) Maxim Orlov
  15. 2000 (5th-163rd) Ivan Nepryaev
  16. 2001 (5th-160th) Artem Ternavsky
  17. 2002 (1st-13rd) Alexander Semin
  18. 2004 (2nd-62th) Mikhail Yunkov
  19. 2004 (1st-1st) Alexander Ovechkin
  20. 2005 (7th-209th) Viktor Dovgan
  21. 2006 (1st-23rd) Semyon Varlamov
  22. 2008 (2nd-58th) Dmitri Kugryshev
  23. 2009 (2nd-55th) Dmitri Orlov
  24. 2010 (3rd-86th) Stanislav Galiev
  25. 2010 (1st-26th) Evgeny Kuznetsov

* Dmitri Khristich and Andri Sidorov are Ukrainians. They were citizens when they got drafted.

  • Your Nation’s Capital

    Nice work, Fedor. Thanks!

  • http://crzyjewishotaku.deviantart.com Rachel

    That draft photo of Engeny is absolutely adorable, not gonna lie. :D Looking forward to see him play.

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  • @MoniMaz

    THAT. WINK. ROCKS.

  • http://jessikalim.tumblr.com/ Jessica

    Best Draft photo ever! :D I LOVE IT. lol.
    Can;t wait til he plays with the Caps. :)

  • boutros23

    GMGM is the best winker ever.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    Oh, Georgie, you sly, Russian-lovin’ dog, you.

    Nice hands on this kid. I’m excited.

    I love how Kuznetsov is “reminiscent” of Alex Semin, and how Semin’s also Galiev’s “FAVE PLAYER!!1″ While both may be true… GOD DAMN THESE KIDS ARE YOUNG. Semin’s only 26; he can barely dress himself yet!

    Don’t depress me, young Soviet grasshoppers!

  • CapsFan1975

    @mcawful

    What can I say? Time passes. I remember Semin as a young kid on the Caps (and to think I have a child who’s about his age.)

  • Hunter for coach

    Did anyone watch how the Canadian Olympic team defensemen dismantled the Russian machine. The Russians play a Euro-trash game that does not translate into Stanley cup rings. Scotty Bowman had to man handle Federov into learning how to play defense before the wings had any success. Boy, the Caps are really carrying around alot of hardware on the golf course in the Spring ! Semin is possibly the biggest wimp in the league. Why would any hockey player want to be Semin. He looked like dung in the Olympics and the playoffs. Real Caps fans want him gone yesterday !!!!

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    @CapsFan1975 – I’m only 24, but it pains me to know somebody only two years older than me is officially the Dick Clark of the “Young Guns”. God damn it.

    @Hunter for coach – “What you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    mcawful for the win!

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  • http://jessikalim.tumblr.com/ Jessica

    mcawful: amazing use of a movie quote,