The Evengy Kuznetsov saga continues. After making comments to Russian television indicating he wanted to remain in Russian next season and then backtracking, the time for Kuznetsov to make his decision has come. Kuzya’s KHL team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, was eliminated from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals in five games. He had two goals and two assists in the series.
He now has two options: sign Traktor’s qualifying offer worth around $1.5 million per year with the possibility of receiving an unknown KHL stipend or bolt to the NHL and sign an NHL entry level contact worth a maximum of $925,000 a season plus possible signing and performance bonuses. There are also outside factors likely to be at play — Kuznetsov was married last year and moving to America would be a big step for the 20-year-old non-English speaker. Kuznetsov is a part of the Russian national team so we likely won’t know anything until after the World Championships, taking place in Helsinki and Stockholm throughout May.
We can only guess what Kuznetsnov’s choice will be — his agent, Jay Grossman, didn’t respond to requests for comment regarding his client’s earlier remarks — but Kuznetsov took an emotional lap around the ice after today’s season-ending loss. Is it just me or is it a little dusty in here?
Cross your fingers, Caps fans.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland and Fedor Fedin.