The Washington Capitals have announced that they have re-signed star centre, and restricted free agent, Evgeny Kuznetsov to a eight-year, $62.4 million contract. The contract carries an AAV or cap hit of $7.8 million per season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov has re-signed. Eight years. $62.4 million. That’s a lot of money.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Re-Signs With the Washington Capitals
Kuznetsov, 25, was eligible for arbitration this summer. Last season he scored 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 82 games. He also added five goals and 10 points in 13 playoff games. While it was a very good season, it was a little down from his breakout 2015-16 campaign when he finished with 20 goals and 57 assists for 77 points in 82 games. Kuznetsov is a possession driver. He had a 52.2 Corsi-for Percentage (relative +1.2), and a 51.5 Fenwick for percentage (relative +0.7) this season.
He is also a dynamic play-maker who can produce both on the power play as well as at even strength. Kuznetsov is a key member of the two-time President’s Trophy winner’s core, as the second line centre behind Nicklas Backstrom.
Kuznetsov was drafted in the first round, 26th overall by the Capitals in the 2010 NHL Draft. The Capitals had to be patient as he stayed in Russia until 2013. Kuznetsov was a star with Chelyabinsk Traktor in the KHL. He has played in parts of four NHL seasons, all with Washington. In 261 career NHL games, Kuznetsov has 53 goals and 129 assists for 182 points.
The deal is a fair one that puts Kuznetsov in-line with similar players with his production; while also ensuring that the Capitals keep their core together. Fitting it all under the salary cap is also a consideration, as always. The Capitals have already lost Justin Williams, Karl Alzner, and Kevin Shattenkirk to free agency, casualties to locking up franchise cornerstones, like Kuznetsov.