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Evgeny Kuznetsov Placed on Waivers

Photo courtesy of Jess Star (

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind day for anyone following the ongoing saga of Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Washington Capitals – a partnership that appears to be coming to an end.

Earlier this morning, it was announced that Kuznetsov had been cleared to return to, and practice with, the team after spending the last month in the NHLPA’s player assistance program.

But then, this update:

Kuznetsov’s tenure with the Capitals has been one filled with ups and downs since he was drafted by the organization back in 2010. Just getting him over to the United States was never a certainty, as he spent a few years in the KHL first and at times seemed unwilling to make the jump. In the spring of 2012, he even spoke about signing a contract extension with his KHL squad, Traktor Chelyabinsk, citing – among other things – the hope that staying would improve his chances for the Olympics.

He finally made it to DC in March of 2014, signing an entry-level contract and suiting up for the last 17 games of the season, in which he posted three goals and nine points.

He put up decent numbers in his first few seasons before having a breakout year in 2017-18, when he finished the regular season with 83 points…and then became one of the team’s best players (and arguably THE best player) in their run to the Stanley Cup, a performance which included one of the biggest moments in franchise history:

Post-Cup Kuznetsov, however, had his struggles, including a video that surfaced – allegedly from Vegas, after the Cup win – showing him near what appeared to be cocaine, followed a year later by a positive test for the substance and a three-game suspension from the NHL (as well as a four-year ban from international competition).

On the ice, he was inconsistent, showing flashes of brilliance but posting lackluster results overall (with an outlier of him returning to form, somewhat, with a 78-point season in 2021-22). Rumors of trade requests started floating around, and with no takers to start the season, head coach Spencer Carbery has struggled to find a spot for him in the lineup, even benching him on occasion before Kuznetsov’s entrance to the assistance program.

It’s been quite a journey, and despite the drama and the at times frustrating play, Kuznetsov has been a huge part of this team since putting on the sweater almost exactly a decade ago. His 568 points ranks seventh all-time in franchise history, his eagle celebrations have become iconic, and that 2018 run will forever cement him as a part of the team’s legacy.

If this is the end of the road for Kuznetsov and the Caps, and that does seem to be where this is heading, here’s hoping he finds that fresh start and some peace. Thanks for the memories, Kuzy!

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