The Washington Capitals had it all when they won the Stanley Cup in 2018. It was one of the most impressive teams in NHL history as they finally got over the hump in the Alexander Ovechkin era. That man needed to win a Stanley Cup and he finally got one.
One of the biggest pieces on that team was centerman Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Capitals made him their first-round pick (26th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft and he turned into a star. His ability to make plays and score big goals was incredible.
However, over the last handful of years, Kuznetsov hasn’t been quite the same player. He is still productive but he doesn’t have that star factor that he did back in the day. There have been rumors about him wanting out of Washington but nothing has really come of it.
In 2022-23, Kuznetsov had 12 goals and 43 assists for 55 points in 81 games. Those are good assist numbers for him but the goal total is way down. If he can pick that back up this year, he will be right back around where he wants to be in terms of points.
Evgeni Kuznetsov needs to be a much better player for the Washington Capitals.
This man has too much talent to be underwhelming. He needs to find a way to dig deep and get back to playing hockey the way that we know he can. If the Capitals end up trading him, it wouldn’t be a surprise but he has to make teams want him if he is truly unhappy in Washington.
His most recent preseason game against the Boston Bruins wasn’t very promising. He had two assists in the 5-4 overtime win but there is one video that came from the game that doesn’t make him look like he cares too much.
As you can see in the video, Matthew Poitras makes a nifty play to score a goal for the Boston Bruins. He is a good young player looking to make an impact so he can be on the roster out of camp instead of going back to the OHL.
However, Kuznetsov deserves some heat for this one. He didn’t even try hard at all to defend Poitras and resist him from the scoring chance. From this video, it looks like he straight up doesn’t care about that part of the game. That is very concerning for a player who is unhappy with his team.
Washington might not be a good team this year so moving on from Kuznetsov doesn’t seem like it will be that big of a deal for them. They might be able to get something really nice for him based on his ceiling as an offensive player.
Including this year, he has two more years on his deal worth $7.8 million. It has been a nice run for him but it is time for a change of scenery. This video makes him look bad and he has to find a way to show that he cares about winning again. This should be unacceptable to Washington management.