Krechin and Kuznetsov receive the “Bright Past” trophy, a local award in the Chelyabinsk region. (Photo credit: mityaev.ru)

Over the last few months, Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has stated that next season would be his last in Russia. As recently as last week, Kuznetsov told the Russian press, “I’ve decided for myself that it is my last year in the KHL. There’s no money that could keep me in Russia. I could make 30 times less, but I’ll feel what it’s like to live in a different country and play against the best players in the world.”

On Friday, Vladimir Krechin, the Director of Traktor Chelyabinsk, confirmed Kuznetsov is leaving for the NHL, revealing that his star player plans to fly over to Washington as soon as Traktor’s season ends.

Here’s the short but essential passage from AllHockey.ru’s Olesya Usova:

Usova: Evgeny Kuznetsov’s contract expires next year and he’s going to leave for the NHL…

Krechin: I’m 200% sure he’s going [to Washington]. Once the season’s over he’s leaving.

Krechin doesn’t explicitly state that the team has agreed to terminate Kuznetsov’s contract early (his KHL deal ends on April 30, 2014). But it is logical to assume that Krechin — not wanting to anger his team’s hometown star — would not hold him back if he wanted to get out of his contract early as soon as Traktor’s season ends.

Sports.ru’s Igor Eronko makes that jump in logic as well.

Regardless of when Kuznetsov actually gets here, one thing’s for certain: he will be a Washington Capital. And that is a very good thing.

Translation and additional reporting by Fedor Fedin.

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  • Troy

    Hate to be greedy Kuznetsov, but we could use you much earlier than “after the KHL season.” We really do need him and Galiev playing, and playing together with other talent on their line. Honestly, Galiev could have the best OVERALL, complete hockey game out of all our picks since 2004. Kuznetsov will look even more talented getting passes from Stan. Could be the 2nd/3rd line support production we have been waiting for since…. since…… since 10,000 B.C.?