Per the team, the Caps have agreed to a new eight-year, $62.4 million contract with restricted free agent center Evgeny Kuznetsov:
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to an eight-year, $62.4 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“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,” said MacLellan. “It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL.”
Kuznetsov, 25, registered 59 points (19g, 40a) in 82 games with the Capitals during the 2016-17 season. The 6’2”, 192-pound center ranked second on the team in assists, third in points and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (4). In addition, he played in all 82 games for the second consecutive season (2015-16). Kuznetsov was selected by the Capitals in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft and has earned 182 points (53g, 129a) in 261 career NHL games with Washington. He ranks third among players in the 2010 NHL Draft class in career assists per game (0.49) and fifth in points per game (0.70).
Kuznetsov led the Capitals with 77 points (20g, 57a) in 82 games during the 2015-16 season, becoming the first player other than Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom to lead the Capitals in points since 2003-04 (Robert Lang: 74). In addition, Kuznetsov became the 10th player in franchise history and the seventh Russian-born player in NHL history to record 57 or more assists in a season. The Moscow native finished the 2015-16 season ranked second in the NHL in assists per 60 minutes (2.39), fourth in assists and points per 60 minutes (3.24), tied for sixth in plus/minus and tied for ninth in points. Kuznetsov also led the NHL in primary assists (43), marking the most primary assists in a season since 2011-12 (Evgeni Malkin: 46).
During the 2014-15 season, Kuznetsov earned 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games with Washington, marking the most points by a Capitals rookie since John Carlson (37) in 2010-11. He also became the 13th rookie in franchise history to earn 25 or more assists in a season. Kuznetsov ranked eighth among NHL rookies in assists (26) and ninth in points (37).
Kuznetsov played in his 200th NHL/Capitals game on Nov. 26, 2016 at Toronto. His 132 points (37g, 95a) through his first 200 games marked the sixth-most points for a Capitals player through his first 200 games (since 1987-88). Kuznetsov trails Ovechkin (240), Backstrom (197), Dmitri Khristich (178), Peter Bondra (164) and Alex Semin (151). In addition, Kuznetsov earned his 100th NHL/Capitals assist on Dec. 11, 2016 against Vancouver, becoming the fourth-fastest player in franchise history to reach 100 NHL/Capitals assists (206 GP), trailing Backstrom (138 GP), Ovechkin (159 GP) and Mike Gartner (194 GP).
Kuznetsov has represented Russia at the World Cup (2016), three World Championships (2012, 2013, 2014, 2017), two World Junior Championships (2011, 2012) and two World U18 Championships (2009, 2010). Kuznetsov won a gold medal with Russia at the 2012 and 2014 World Championship and at the 2011 World Junior Championship. In 2012, Kuznetsov captained Russia to a silver medal at the World Junior Championship and was named to the tournament all-star team, the tournament’s best forward, one of the top-3 best players on his team and won the tournament MVP.
More details and analysis to come, but catch up on Kuznetsov’s 2016-17 season with our Rink Wrap here.