Wilson has an intimate chat with Claude Giroux. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Well, here’s something incredible we’ve uncovered about Tom Wilson.
Playing the Florida Panthers on February 27th, Wilson’s third-period slash on Brian Campbell put him at 112 penalty minutes on the year. Those two PIMs helped Wilson overtake the teenager penalty minutes record since 2004-05.
That mark was previously held by — you’ll never guess.
Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov returned to action following KHL Olympic break on Wednesday as Traktor Chelyabinsk faced reigning champions Dynamo Moscow in a Gagarin Cup re-match. Traktor, still battling for a postseason spot, gave the champions a battle but fell 5-3 in a high scoring affair.
Despite being one of the best players on the ice, Kuznetsov was unable to snap his goalless streak, now at 12 games (his last goal came on November 28th). But at least he keeps racking up the assists.
The Capitals had a hard time getting offensive opportunities early in Thursday’s Caps-Jets game, but a wild scrum in front of Ondrej Pavelec during the first period was a chance to change all that. Somehow, inexplicably, the Jets kept the puck from crossing the goal line. Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets’ 6’5″, 265-pound defenseman-turned-forward (or vice versa… I’m confused), finally broke out and got the puck in neutral while facing down rookie blueliner Patrick Wey, whom Big Buff hit rather rudely just ten seconds earlier.
Chandler Stephenson has been one of the most impressive Caps prospects this season (Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)
The first half of the 2013-14 season has been mostly positive for Washington Capitals prospects. Unknowns like Andre Burakovsky and Chandler Stephenson have shown real NHL potential, while the elder statesmen of the pool like Nate Schmidt and Patrick Wey, both coming off tremendous college careers, have made steps up the Caps’ depth chart.
However, top two Caps prospects will wish their first half was better: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s injuries have limited his action and Tom Wilson has had a hard time gaining a meaningful role with the big club.
The feel-good story of the season so far has been Stephenson, who had been bugged by injuries in the past, but is now thriving in a veteran role as an offensive go-to guy for his team. I’ve got more on these stories and our full top-20 ranking below. Continue Reading
Evgeny Kuznetsov scores the shootout game-winner. (Photo: Metallurg Novokuznetsk)
Last Wednesday, Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov made a lot of Caps fans happy when he tweeted out his US visa application form. After three years of waiting, it seems Kuznetsov is finally ready to come to the NHL.
Caps fans, however, may have been the only ones happy about the tweet. A half an hour after publishing the photo, Kuznetsov deleted the tweet. We do not know why he took it down. It’s possible Traktor’s management and coaching staff had issues with their best player announcing his imminent departure while his team is still playing.
Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has had a tough time this year. Over the last few months, he’s suffered three injuries. When he’s been healthy, he’s struggled. Traktor Chelyabinsk, which played in the KHL Finals last season, is barely clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Kuznetsov remains out with a leg injury.
Every year, we see a few European players get signed to the NHL as free agents. Recently those players have included Anton Belov, who was snagged by the Edmonton Oilers; Damien Brunner, who inked a deal with the Detroit Red Wings before moving to New Jersey; Nikita Nikitin, who was traded from the St. Louis Blues to Columbus Blue Jackets during his rookie year; Raphael Diaz of the Montreal Canadiens; and New York Ranger Mats Zuccarello. These signings aren’t the conventional path to the NHL, but they aren’t a new one either.
Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Because teams give up very little cap space for an entry-level contract, European free agent signings aren’t high risk. The players could always be assigned to the minors. That said, some European stars who signed NHL contracts have failed in the bigs. Roman Cervenka, for example, returned to the KHL after just one year with the Calgary Flames.
One European player who might be sought after this year is Fedor Malykhin from Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg. At the age of 23, he’s going through a breakout year, carrying his team to a playoff spot.