To answer the first question, no. No, Evgeny Kuznetsov cannot join the Washington Capitals this season. Everyone in the NHL will have to wait at least until next year to see the guy who on Thursday night put on a show for Russia in the world junior hockey championship.
Kuznetsov lit up Latvia to the tune of nine points in his country’s 14-0 thrashing of lowly Latvia. That’s three goals and six assists for the Russian captain who had been held scoreless in the tournament going into the Latvia game. Nine points is good for the second-most in one game in world junior history, behind just Peter Forsberg’s 10.
Kuznetsov, the Caps’ first-round pick in 2010, is a two-point-a-game player now in the world juniors, having put up seven goals and 13 assists in 20 games in this tournament over the past two years.
Conventional wisdom is that Kuznetsov could come over to North America this summer to join the Caps for the 2012-13 season, though he has not committed to doing that.
“He’s going to be a heck of a player,” Caps general manager George McPhee said in a preseason conversation with The Washington Times. “I’d like to have him here next year, yeah.”
He has 12 goals and 12 assists in 32 games for Chelyabinsk Traktor in the Kontinental Hockey League.