Traktor’s director Vladimir Krechin. (Photo credit: Traktor’s official website)

For a few weeks now the saga of Evgeny Kuznetsov has been dominating the hearts and minds of Caps fans. The question being, where will Kuzya be playing next year? Is he going to join the NHL team that selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft? Will he stay true to his home town and remain a Traktorist for another season? Or will he prefer the greener pastures of another KHL club, perhaps a powerhouse like SKA St. Petersburg or even one of Traktor’s main KHL rivals like Salavat Yulaev Ufa?

The latest development in this story came in an interview Kuznetsov gave earlier this week to the host of KHL-TV’s “The Icing Show,” Igor Larin. Kuznetsov purportedly stated his intention to remain in the KHL, but not necessarily with his current club. KHL-TV has not yet made video of this interview available online.

Many Russian hockey analysts and former players have given their opinions on his decision since then, yet Kuznetsov’s team, Traktor Cheylabinsk, has stayed silent. Until now.

Traktor’s Director Vladimir Krechin spoke to Sport-Express’s Yuriy Golyshak after his team’s 2-1 victory over Ak Bars on Friday. My translation of their interview is below.

Vladimir Krechin: The rumors regarding the possibility of Evgeny Kuznetsov remaining in the KHL but potentially moving on to Ufa from Chelyabinsk created some buzz in town. In town, but not the club. In the [front] office of Traktor we had a laugh. As it turns out, this situation is absolutely impossible, and the only competitors for [our player] are in North America.

I listened to Kuznetsov’s interview: so ‘[I] don’t know which KHL team I will be with.’ Here is what I say: there are regulations in the KHL. Until he is 28 years old, he can not leave Traktor as long as we make him a qualifying offer. If we raise his salary by a certain percentage, he simply does not have a right to leave Traktor. And, of course we will make him such offer. And thus will reaffirm our rights to the player. Kuznetsov will definitely not play for another KHL team next year.

Yuriy Golyshak: Have you discussed with him the thoughts regarding Ufa?

Vladimir Krechin: I try not to bother my players with such questions unless there is a break in the championship. For as long as the playoffs are going on, let him think about hockey. But I do know that there are other teams circling around our player, offering him something.

Yuriy Golyshak: How many other teams?

Vladimir Krechin: Three at least.

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  • Anonymous

    How does this crap even work- do the caps, as the team that drafted him, have any sway in getting him over here? 

  • http://twitter.com/maratik999 maratik999

    So that means we still have a chance at him should things now work out with Traktor, right?

  • dirt

    ray, he’s a free man, you can’t force someone to leave their home country to play somewhere else. This is the risk the Caps, and everyone else in the league, knew they were taking when they drafted Kuznetsov 26th. Why else would someone that talented slip so low in the draft?

    I am still holding out hope he comes over next year. I am hoping the theory that he just said that to shut people up so he wouldn’t have to answer that question anymore is true. I know he’ll make considerably more money in Russia next year, but after 2-3 years of his ELC he could have the potential to make more here. 

    Also, here’s hoping GMGM can convince him that outside of the money, he’d be much safer and better off playing in the NHL. The KHL takes terrible care of it’s players. They have had a player die at a game because there was no medical staff, equipment, or ambulance. They had a whole team perish, because the league allowed them to fly in a plane that was the equivalent of the prop plane in Major League,  and Kuzya himself had to go to Germany when he was seriously injured because he had been hurt once before by substandard doctors in Russia. 

  • @CapsFans1921

    Anyone who follows sports knows one thing, and that is: Nothing is final until the upcoming season starts, and even then, things can and do change.

    With that being said our team has a fairly potent Russian contingent, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to hear that Ovi, Sasha, or Dima talk to Kuz in the off season and  sway him into coming to America. But right now we need not worry about a prospect, we need to support these guys as they push for the playoffs.

    Go Caps!

  • abrlcklnthewall

    Nope, if he’s not in the American system he’s just in the wind as far as we are concerned.

  • http://twitter.com/FedFedRMNB Fe(yo)dor Fedin

    IIRC, NHL team that drafted player can get him as long as that country has transfer agreement with the NHL. That’s all major European leagues, KHL is an exception.

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  • http://e-cigarettestarterkits.net/ Marco Lundemark

    I would actually hope that he would move onto NHL for the 2012-2013 season. It would be very interesting to see how well he could play over there..