It looks like the Caps have yet another supremely skilled Russian forward on the way—just not this season. After watching Russian captain Evgeny Kuznetsov put up nine points in a single game last night against Lativa in the World Junior Championships, fans in Washington may have had visions of the Capitals adding another potent scorer to the mix at the end of the season. But those dreams will have to wait a few more months.
“He’s ready to play here and he needs to play in a better league,” Washington GM George McPhee said about Kuznetsov. “When you’re not playing at the highest level you can develop some bad habits and you don’t want that stuff to become engrained, so we want to get him in the best league he can and work with him.”
Unfortunately, because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kuznetsov cannot come over and play in North America after his KHL season concludes. Fans will have to wait the beginning of next season before they get to see the talented prospect rock a different shade of red.
Despite the wait, McPhee said that Kuznetsov looks like he’s ready for the NHL and will get every opportunity to make the Capitals roster next season. He acknowledged that the team hasn’t started negotiations with Kuznetsov’s agent for an entry-level deal; but added that it was nothing out of the ordinary. He also added that he likes to leave players alone during the WJC tournament, but plans on working on a deal to bring the skilled forward to North America for next season.
Not a bad prospect for the 26th pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, eh?