Kuznetsov to be traded from Washington? Why is it for the club and the player himself

Weak season = change?

August began with the fact that Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke on the Hockey on Kinopoisk stream. There he indirectly confirmed a possible exchange from Washington: “There are agents, they are in touch with Washington and are doing their job. The club is constantly trying to improve the composition. If there is an opportunity, they will exchange me or someone else. I think nothing here depends on me.”

Insiders regularly write about the exchange of Kuznetsov, but with the specifics of the complexity

In June, Sportsnet included Kuznetsov and fellow striker Mantoux on their off-season trade list. Journalist Frank Seravalli confirmed: Washington started discussing the details of their transfers with other NHL clubs. This was driven by a desire to create an emotional upheaval and achieve flexibility under the salary cap. While the process is frozen.

Seravalli can be trusted: he comes to hockey shows, gives details on deals and often talks about Russian players. So, Frank was one of the first to explain the absence of Nichushkin in the Colorado squad by a mysterious incident at the hotel. Before that, he analyzed the history of Kaprizov and Minnesota, when Kirill did not sign a new contract for a long time.

Kuznetsov has a clause prohibiting trades in 10 NHL teams. Their names are provided by the player himself when he comes to this offer. Respected insider Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet wrote about Nashville’s interest, but added that the club had pulled out of negotiations. Everything was quiet, and new specifics did not appear.

The same Friedman more often than others gives information on Kuznetsov. Before Nashville appeared, he explained in detail that Washington and Kuznetsov had been moving towards a divorce for a couple of years. His version: the question is only on specific terms. Between Kuznetsov and people in the organization, tension has accumulated – it affects the status of Evgeny in the club.

Kuznetsov noted  conflicts with the club, but he said this: “It’s probably like being married: you constantly swear, but you still have this love.” In 2021, Evgeny missed the Washington match due to discipline. The reason is being late for a team event.

The Athletic annually analyzes the effectiveness of contracts in NHL clubs. In 2023, Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Backstrom agreements were in the top three. Alexander blocks spending with personal achievements and influence on attention to Washington. Backstrom gets injured and is hardly tangibly valuable to others. Kuznetsov remains attractive.

In recent years, American insiders have singled out Yevgeny in exchange selections, but usually he continues to play for Washington without any problems. The summer of 2023 is different in that everything has moved to a new point. Popular explanation: Kuznetsov himself now needs a change of scenery to get back to the top level. Reciprocity from Washington is also important here.

What will Washington get for Kuznetsov? A striker with a salary of 7.8 million per season should nominally go for at least one of the same quality player. Specific details on the exchange have not yet appeared. There are only evaluation materials about who Kuznetsov would suit: Arizona, Nashville, Chicago and others.

Why Washington could trade Kuznetsov – he had a bad season after one of his best

Kuznetsov played his entire career in the NHL only for Washington. The club took him in the 2010 draft, but Eugene came to the league after 4 years. Then he progressed and quickly grew to a leadership role. In 2017, Kuznetsov signed an eight-year contract with the Washington Capitals for a total of $62.4 million. At the time, it seemed like a bargain for both sides.

Over the past two years, we have seen different Kuznetsov. In the 2021/22 season, Evgeny had a powerful regular season, where he constantly helped Ovechkin. At that moment, he talked a lot about the dream of being there at the moment of his record goal. There were no prerequisites for an early exchange, although Washington played unsuccessfully with Florida in the playoffs.