Is Evgeny Kuznetsov On The Way?Posted on January 28, 2014 by David Stevenson
The Washington Capitals and their fans have been waiting a long time for prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov to rock the red. It is very likely that we won't have to wait much longer. Late last Wednesday evening, Evgeny tweeted out this photo:
It's no secret that Kuznetsov wants to play for the Washington Capitals. He confirmed that earlier this month in an interview. In the interview, he said that he wouldn't stay in the KHL for even $10,000,000 or $15,000,000 and thanks the Capitals for being patient with him and keeping in touch with him.
There's a good chance that Kuznetsov could be playing for the Capitals at some point this season. His chances revolve around several factors. First off, there’s the KHL playoffs. If Traktor does not make the playoffs, Kuznestov could obviously come to North America sooner. Currently, Traktor has a one point lead over Admiral with 6 games left in the regular season, which ends on March 4th. The second factor is money, or lack thereof. Traktor is in very bad shape financially. They owe Kuznetsov about $1,200,000 until April 30th (KHL players are paid until April 30th). So if Traktor doesn't make the playoffs, I think they'd love to not have to pay Kuznetsov that much money for not playing. I’m guessing that they'd agree to void his deal to avoid paying him. The final factor: his health. Kuznetsov has had a rough season, suffering various injuries. He recently missed almost a month after a knee injury on Christmas Day. Just because the KHL cleared him to play does not mean that the Capitals would.
Here's what I think happens with Kuznetsov: I think he definitely plays in a Capitals sweater this season. Depending on when he comes over, he’ll probably spend some time with the Hershey Bears so that he can get used to the North American style of hockey. How long that stint will be depends on how long he stays. As far as where he's used with the Capitals, I think he’ll be used as a left wing, either on the top line with Ovechkin or on the second line. I wouldn't rule out him as a second line center. If he's the third line center, I’m fully prepared to start passing out torches and pitchforks because that's just stupid.