The news comes with little surprise, considering that last month Kuznetsov, 20, stated that he was “not ready to go to the NHL right now” and that he wanted to remain in Russia through the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
While the Capitals declined to comment on the latest development with the promising young forward, General Manager George McPhee said in May that the team was not expecting Kuznetsov to join them for next season. With this deal, their wait will be a little longer than they expected.
If Kuznetsov plays out this KHL contract, the earliest he would arrive in North America is the 2014-15 campaign as a 22-year-old. Although Kuznetsov has opted to stay in Russia, the Capitals retain his NHL negotiating rights.
“He’s a young guy,” McPhee said on May 14. “We understand why he might not want to leave yet. But at some point he’ll want to come to this league. It’s the best league in the world. He’s a heck of a player so when he’s ready to come we’ll be ready for him.”
More from Post Sports:
— Capitals trade Vokoun to Penguins for seventh-round pick
— McPhee: Kuznetsov not expected to join Caps in 2012-13 (May 15)