Capitals Sign Top Prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov
Update: Saturday, March 8 at 1:04 p.m.
Original: Thursday, March 6 at 4:12 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – 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 on Saturday.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, 21, who was selected 26th overall by the Capitals in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was released from his KHL contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk on Thursday.
“It’s kind of like seeing the Loch Ness monster,” McPhee said after Kuznetsov signed.
Alex Ovechkin has said he plans to invite Kuznetsov into his home, to live with him and help him assimilate into American culture, as former Capitals teammate Dainius Zubrus once did for him.
Kuznetsov played in 31 games with Chelyabinsk this season, tallying 21 total points (8 goals, 13 assists) and 12 penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound center ranks fourth on the team in points and assists. Kuznetsov led Chelyabinsk in scoring each season from 2010-13 and finished tied for sixth in the KHL in scoring (44 points) last season.
He was named to the KHL All-Star game in 2012.
Kuzentsov has also represented Russia in the World Junior Championships three times (2010, 2011, 2012), earning a gold medal in 2011 and a silver medal in 2012. He recorded 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in just seven games in the 2011 tournament, including three assists in Russia’s 5-3 victory over Canada in the gold medal game.
He had 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in six games in the World Juniors in 2012, while collecting First Team All-Star, Best Forward and Most Valuable Player honors for his play.
In his KHL career, Kuznetsov has 146 points (64 goals, 81 assists) and 124 penalty minutes in 210 games.
Kuznetsov will wear No. 92 for the Capitals.
It’s uncertain when exactly he’ll suit up for the Caps, as he hasn’t yet officially signed his contract. Although, he will skate at Kettler on Sunday at 8 a.m., the team says.