Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov
27-Year-Old CenterC
Washington Capitals
Injury Suspension
Est. Return 10/8/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
After finishing as the leading scorer in the 2017-18 playoffs, expectations for Kuznetsov were sky-high entering 2018-19. Despite a healthy 72 points in 82 games, the 26-year-old Russian managed just four goals and 26 points - with just six on the power-play - on the road. The 27-year-old is one of the most gifted offensive players in the league and owns enough talent and opportunity to challenge for the Art Ross Trophy if all goes well. His road woes are likely just an outlier and he should be one of the first centers off the board once again in 2019-20. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $62.4 million extension with the Capitals in July 2017.
Three-game ban
CWashington Capitals
September 14, 2019
Kuznetsov has officially been suspended three games by the NHL for inappropriate conduct, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
Kuznetsov has informed the league he won't appeal his suspension after testing positive for cocaine in an IIHF drug test. The 27-year-old pivot will be allowed to play in preseason contests, but he won't be able to make his regular-season debut until Oct. 8 versus the Stars. Kuznetsov posted 72 points -- 23 on the power play -- in 76 games last year.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Kuznetsov entered the 2017-18 season as a talented offensive playmaker; he exited a legitimate superstar. The 26-year-old Russian proved worthy of the eight-year, $62.4 million extension he signed in July of 2017, tallying a career-high 27 goals and 83 points in 79 games. But it was during the playoffs that the pivot found an even higher gear, scoring 12 goals and leading all NHLers with 32 points in 24 playoff contests. With a Stanley Cup ring on his resume, Kuznetsov has established himself as one of the top players in the league and looks to build on a banner year centering the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson to start things off in 2018-19. Kuznetsov should be one of the top producers in standard formats and one of the first centers off the board.
After following up his 77-point breakout with a disappointing 59-point encore last season, Kuznetsov is well on his way to living up to the "enigmatic Russian" stereotype. The Capitals don't seem to think so, though, as they committed a boatload of money to him on an eight-year contract extension in the offseason. The question for fantasy owners is, what's next? Well, at 25 years old, Kuznetsov should be on the rise, not in decline; after all, his health has been great and his talent has never been in question. Look for him to bounce back up into nearly point-per-game production even though he’s technically a second-liner, and Kuznetsov will probably bring winger Andre Burakovsky’s point total up along with him.
Kuznetsov busted out last year for an extraordinary 77-point breakout campaign, but it ended in disappointment when he went the final 20 games of the regular season without scoring a goal, then offered up just two points in 12 playoff games. That’s no small part of the reason that the Caps – considered one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup – got bumped in the second round by the eventual championship-winning Penguins. Nonetheless, it’s hard for those who drafted the Russian center to complain, as he rewarded his fantasy owners in spades, finishing among the league leaders in rating with a plus-27 to go with his 20 goals and 57 helpers. Now it’s on the playmaking center to show he can do it again – and with Washington returning most of its roster from last year, there doesn’t seem to be any reason he won’t. Perhaps Kuznetsov will see a small downtick in scoring if Nicklas Backstrom stays healthy all year, but the 24-year-old Russian could also see a sizeable uptick if he ends up skating on the No. 1 line alongside goal-scoring extraordinaire Alex Ovechkin. But that’s all a matter of degrees; no matter how the playing time shakes out, this is a great time to own Kuznetsov in fantasy.
Hallelujah – the Caps’ second-line center problem has been solved. Or so it seems. Kuznetsov scuffled early in the season, delivering 24 points in his first 63 games and looking nothing like a first-round pick (or a second-line center, for that matter). But something happened in March – a light bulb went on for the creative center. He delivered 13 points in his last 17 games and added another seven in 14 playoff games. Those seven actually came in a nine-game stretch. So has the breakout occurred, or is it actually in progress? We think it’s the latter – Kuznetsov’s still got a lot to learn. He isn’t exactly good in the faceoff circle or his own zone, and his possession numbers are a work in progress (to the say the least). But he’ll have better linemates this season -- perhaps including Justin Williams, a guy who makes those around him better -- and should be expected to continue developing into an offensive force.
The toast of the town upon his arrival late in the season, Kuznetsov wasted no time in reinvigorating a fanbase in desperate need of hope. Despite playing mostly fourth-line minutes, the highly skilled winger from Russia managed nine points in his first 17 games. Having bulked up and honed his offensive skills in the KHL, the 22-year-old is poised for a greater role with the Capitals this season. Hoping he can fill the void left by Mikhail Grabovski’s departure in free agency, Kuznetsov will likely get a crack as the team’s second-line center, a position he has some familiarity with. With the size, speed, and offensive skills fans drool over, Kuznetsov has excellent sleeper potential and is an early favorite to challenge for the Calder Trophy in 2014-2015.
Kuznetsov, 21 is the best prospect in the Capitals system. He had a solid year with Chelyabinsk (KHL) with 44 points in 51 games. Kuznetsov was added 42 PIM which underscored a new toughness in his game, a most welcomed development. Kuznetsov has just one year left on his KHL contract and he fully intends to play for Washington in 2014-15. Kuznetsov is a true blue chip prospect who should be owned in all keeper leagues.
One of the stars of last winter's World Junior Championships, Kuznetsov's place in North American hockey this coming season was the subject of much debate. Would the immensely talented center join the Capitals or would he remain in Russia, playing professionally in he KHL? Kuznetsov signed a two-year deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk to remain in the KHL through the 2014 season. He remains one of the best hockey players currently not in the NHL, as the Caps would love to have him in the District.
The most recent comparison Kuznetsov received was that of fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin. That is what his head coach sees, so for the Caps if that is pretty accurate they seem to have another Russian star in the making. He made the all-star game in the KHL and was the youngest player to ever be selected. He still has a year left on his contract in the KHL, but when this kid gets his chance he has all the potential to be a star.
Kuznetsov was the first round selection in this past NHL entry draft, continuing the Russian connection. He is talented enough to play in the NHL, but he has a few years remaining on his contract in the KHL and that will give him some time to improve those skills. He will be in the NHL in the coming years though.
More Fantasy News
Facing suspension
CWashington Capitals
September 14, 2019
Kuznetsov will be suspended by the NHL after testing positive for cocaine, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
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Receives international ban
CWashington Capitals
August 23, 2019
Kuznetsov was given a four-year suspension from international play by the IIHF on Friday for testing positive for cocaine at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
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No suspension forthcoming
CWashington Capitals
May 31, 2019
Kuznetsov will not face suspension for his appearance in a social media video that surfaced Monday which shows him sitting in front of several lines of an unidentified white powder.
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Under scrutiny from team
CWashington Capitals
May 28, 2019
Kuznetsov is being investigated by team officials for a social media video, which appears to show lines of a white powder in front of him, the Associated Press reports.
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Suiting up for Team Russia
CWashington Capitals
April 26, 2019
Kuznetsov will be joining Team Russia at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
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