Almost four years after he was drafted by the team, Evgeny Kuznetsov has been signed by the Washington Capitals. Drafted 26th overall in 2010, Kuznetsov has stayed in Russia, playing for the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. For the past year we’ve had indications Kuznetsov would finally be coming over. That came to a head a few days ago when he voided his expiring contract with Traktor after they failed to make the playoffs.
Just after 1 pm today, the Caps announced they had signed the 21-year-old to a two-year entry level contract. Caps GM George McPhee will talk about the signing tonight at Verizon Center. Tomorrow morning at 8, Kuznetsov will take the ice as a member of the Washington Capitals for the first time before addressing the media. He will be wearing his usual number 92.
From the Capitals’ release:
The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on an entry-level contract beginning this season, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Kuznetsov, 21, played in 31 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, recording 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and 12 penalty minutes. The 6’3”, 200-pound center ranks fourth on the team in points and assists. Kuznetsov led Chelyabinsk in scoring in each season from 2010-13 and finished tied for sixth in the league in scoring (44 points) last season. Kuznetsov was named to the KHL All-Star game in 2012.
Kuznetsov represented Russia at the World Junior Championships three times (2010, 2011, 2012), earning a gold medal in 2011 and a silver medal in 2012. During the 2011 tournament, he recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games, including three assists in Russia’s 5-3 win over Canada in the gold medal game. Kuznetsov finished tied for second in the tournament in points and was named a First Team All-Star. Kuznetsov served as captain of the Russian team at the 2012 World Junior Championship. He recorded 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in six games and collected First Team All-Star, Best Forward and Most Valuable Player honors at the tournament.
In 210 career regular-season KHL games with Chelyabinsk, Kuznetsov has recorded 146 points (65 goals, 81 assists) and 124 penalty minutes. The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native was drafted by the Capitals in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Kuznetsov will wear No. 92 with Washington.