Evgeny Kuznetsov will not play for the Washington Capitals this season, but he can certainly make the team anxious for him to arrive.
The Capitals’ 2010 first-round draft pick recorded nine points Thursday night in Russia’s 14-0 drubbing of Latvia in the world junior hockey championships. It was an outburst of three goals and six assists for Kuznetsov, who had been held scoreless in the tournament up to that contest.
Kuznetsov is the captain of the Russian squad and the hope is that he will come to North America and join the Capitals for the 2012-13 season. Washington owns Kuznetsov’s negotiating rights but the 19-year-old has not yet signed an entry-level deal with the club and he has not made an official commitment to come to North America next year.
Asked if he was aware of Kuznetsov’s display at the world junior championships, Coach Dale Hunter said he’s not surprised and added that two years ago his London Knights scouted the young forward.
“We scouted him, my brother did to come over and play junior. He’s a special player, he has great skill – this was two years ago,” Hunter said. “At his age right now he’s dominating the junior level. It’s a good sign for the Caps that they have a great player coming up.”
In 32 games for Chelyabinsk Traktor in the KHL this season, Kuznetsov has 12 goals and 24 points. For more on Kuznetsov’s big night at the world junior championship, check out his interview with Allhockey.ru following the contest over at Russian Machine.