For many anxious Washington Capitals fans, the wait is over: top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will be making his way from the KHL to the NHL before the season is up.
Selected 26th in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Capitals, Kuznetsov has been playing with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. In 206 games with Traktor, Kuznetsov has recorded 142 points (64+78).
With seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games played, Kuznetsov is helping Traktor make a run at the eighth and final playoff spot in the KHL’s Eastern Conference. Assuming Traktor does not make it out of the first round, that means Kuznetsov could join the Capitals by mid-March. That would give Kuznetsov roughly a month to get up to speed in the NHL game and help the Capitals on their playoff push.
Kuznetsov announced his decision via Twitter, and for the vast majority of North Americans who have no knowledge of Cyrillic script, Puck Daddy blogger Dmitry Chesnokov provided some brief translation for the rest of the Internet.
К сожалению не долго осталось мне пожить в новое квартире!!!ведь очень скоро я уеду из россии….
— Evgeny Kuznetsov (@Kuzya92) February 17, 2014
— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) February 17, 2014
Kuznetsov’s tremendous performances on the international level are an important accolade to note with him coming over to the NHL. Kuznetsov helped Russia to a gold-medal performance at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY with 11 points (4+7) in seven games. Then, Kuznetsov followed that up with an even-better 13 points (6+7) in six games en route to a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Alberta.
While the Capitals’ problems lie more in the defensive end of the ice, the future addition of Kuznetsov will certainly help the offense cover up some more of those shortcomings.
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Around the Rink Assistant Site Manager Joe Ray – @jpray_SK
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