Evgeny Kuznetsov denied on a breakaway by Dynamo’s Alexander Yeremenko during the Gagarin Cup Finals (Photo credit: R-Sport)
Sport-Express is reporting a potential trade between Dynamo Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk involving Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the KHL’s brightest stars and a prominent Caps prospect. According to one of Russia’s most popular sports publications, Kuznetsov may follow two other young forwards, Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, who have already been traded from Chelyabinsk to Moscow.
After Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, another Traktor player may move to Dynamo: Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to [Sport-Express’] information, blue-and-whites [Dynamo] have started talks with Traktor about buying the rights and contract of the 2012 World Champion and 2011 World Junior Champion. Kuznetsov is currently with the Russian national team at the World Championships, but hasn’t been placed on the finalized roster yet.
If this rumor is true, Traktor is in a state of upheaval, and it’s possible Evgeny Kuznetsov may be headed to Washington sooner than planned– or not at all.
This would be a curious twist in Kuznetsov’s career. As a hometown favorite in Chelyabinsk, it seemed unlikely that Traktor would trade him away. But after selling Nichushkin and Karpov and not retaining the services of Deron Quint, it’s apparent that Traktor is shaking things up. It’s not quite a fire sale yet, but it may be one soon. As Sports.ru blogger Igor Eronko put it, Dynamo Moscow is in talks to acquire basically all of Traktor Chelyabinsk.
If Kuznetsov does get traded, his contract with Traktor (with one year remaining) will become inactive, and Kuznetsov will be obligated to sign with Dynamo on the same terms. If he does not sign, his rights in the KHL/VHL/MHL system will be held by Dynamo organization, and he’ll be considered a “conflict” player (KHL Legal Regulations, chapter 5, article 35, paragraph 5 and chapter 3, article 11, paragraph 1).
That means Kuznetsov might be able to sign with the Capitals this year. Situations like this have happened before. Last year, Metallurg Magnitogorsk traded Juhamatti Aaltonen to Traktor. Aaltonen then refused to sign with his new club and was assigned “conflict” status. He played the season in the Swedish Elitserien with Rogle BK. On the other hand, the KHL-NHL’s “Memorandum of Understanding” is not entirely clear on how this situation might resolve.
As you might remember, Dynamo advisor Alex Ovechkin (who moonlights as a hockey player) has publicly said that Kuznetsov made the wrong decision in staying in Russia for two more years.