Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov
26-Year-Old CenterC
Washington Capitals
2018 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $62.4 million extension with the Capitals in July 2017.
Ready to rock
CWashington Capitals
Illness
March 24, 2019
Kuznetsov (illness) will play in Sunday's game versus the Flyers, Tom Gulitti of NHL.com reports.
ANALYSIS
There's a flu bug floating around Washington's locker room, but Kuznetsov shook it in time for Sunday's contest. He'll fill back into his second-line center role and he'll log power-play minutes. Kuznetsov has accrued 65 points in 69 games this season, with 21 of those points coming with the man advantage.
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2018–19 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    18:51
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    3:47
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    0:15
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2016–17
16:57
2:00
0:02
2017–18
18:49
3:27
0:03
2018–19
18:51
3:47
0:15
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
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
Game-time call Sunday
CWashington Capitals
Illness
March 24, 2019
Coach Todd Reirden said Kuznetsov (illness) will be a game-time decision for Sunday's game versus the Flyers, JJ Regan of NBC Sports Washington reports.
ANALYSIS
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Dealing with illness
CWashington Capitals
Illness
March 23, 2019
Kuznetsov was excused from Saturday's practice due to an illness, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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Snaps six-game goal slump
CWashington Capitals
March 14, 2019
Kuznetsov scored a goal and added an assist in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Flyers.
ANALYSIS
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Back at point-per-game clip
CWashington Capitals
February 26, 2019
Kuznetsov tallied a goal, an assist and won nine of 17 faceoffs during Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Senators.
ANALYSIS
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Buries overtime winner
CWashington Capitals
February 24, 2019
Kuznetsov scored in overtime in Sunday's 6-5 win over the Rangers.
ANALYSIS
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