Last year we suggested that Evgeny Kuznetsov would become the new face of the Capitals, as is Alex Ovechkin. Ovi becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021 at 36–Kuzy will be 29. Every franchise has a marketing ploy and a flashy Russian with an impish grin and great scoring power is just what the Caps need. But more than a marketing tool, the Caps hope he one of the key elements for the Caps to make it to the final round.
So lets take a look at his performance so far:
Performance: The 2016/17 season was a bit of an off one for Evgeny. Although he remained pretty consistent when it came to goal scoring, his assist number dropped enough that his overall points for the season also dropped 18 points. During the 2015/16 season he nearly doubled his points from the previous season, up 40 points overall. He has the ability to increase both his goal scoring and assist numbers as he matures as a player.
Contract: In July 2017, Kuzy signed an eight-year, $62.4 million contract with the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin signed a 13-year contract extension for a cool $124 million. At the time owner Ted Leonsis said he was willing to take the risk of a long-term investment in someone who would become the cornerstone of the team–and lead them to a Stanley Cup. The hope now is that Kuznetsov will be successful in helping the team reach that elusive goal. He will be 33 when he becomes a unrestricted free agent in 2025.
Skill: General manger Brian MacLellan said at the time that “Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years. It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better.” Not only will Kuzy take the mantle from Ovi at some point, it is hoped that he will augment the performance of Nick Backstrom as a high-performing center. He has speed, tenacity, grit, and a willingness to do whatever it takes (even play defensively) to win. Oh and there is that crazy supernatural shot of his that has amazed fans over the years.
As the preseason got rolling, Kuzy said, “I want the coaching staff, the fans, everybody to expect more from me. It’s a challenge.” We want that too Kuzy, and we look forward to seeing it! We expect Kuzy to dazzle the crowd every night but more importantly, we look forward to seeing him notching more points on the scoreboard as he, Ovi, and the team make a run for the Cup. Read here for more about Kuzy’s background and why he is the likely next face of the Washington Capitals.
And of course, we love, love, love taking his picture!!