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Details: Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov to new deal


Details: Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov to new deal

The Capitals have re-signed restricted free agent center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million contract.

The deal seems to be a perfect compromise between the two sides. Kuznetsov, 23, carried a $900,000 base salary last season but averaged $2.825 million because of bonuses. By signing a two-year deal, Kuznetsov will have a chance to prove he can be a regular producer at the NHL level before cashing in on a deal that rivals the one he left in the KHL, where he earned $3.8 million in his final season in Russia.

The deal is also a good one for the Capitals because it keeps Kuznetsov a restricted free agent. He will be two years away from unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of his contract.

With Kuznetsov under contract the Caps now have about $10.9 million in salary cap space while still needing to sign goaltender Braden Holtby and forward Marcus Johansson, each of whom filed for arbitration on Sunday. Holtby’s cap hit is expected to fall somewhere between $5 million and $6 million, while Johansson figures to come it at between $3.5 million and $4 million. Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said he would like to enter the 2015-16 season with a salary cushion of at least $1 million.

Taken by the Caps with the 26th overall selection of the 2010 NHL draft, Kuznetsov earned 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games with the Caps last season, marking the most points a Capitals rookie has registered in a season since John Carlson (37) in 2010-11. 


The 6-foot-2, 204-pound center also became the 13th rookie in franchise history to earn 25 assists in a season. Kuznetsov registered five multi-point games last season and scored on four consecutive shootout attempts, matching the longest streak in the NHL. He led all Capitals rookies in goals (11), assists (26), points (37) and games played (80) and ranked eighth among NHL rookies in assists (26) and ninth in points (37). 

Kuznetsov recorded seven points (five goals, two assists) in 14 games with the Capitals during the 2015 playoffs. He scored two goals and added an assist in Game 5 against the Islanders in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, marking his first three career playoff points. Kuznetsov became the second player in franchise history to record his first three playoff points in the same game, joining Sergei Gonchar (5/6/95 at PIT: 2g, 1a). He is one of five rookies in franchise history to score two goals in a playoff game, joining Marcus Johansson (4/20/11 at NYR: 2g), Richard Zednik (5/28/98 at BUF: 2g, 1a), Sergei Gonchar (5/6/95 at PIT: 2g, 1a) and Andre Burakovsky (5/6/15 vs. NYR: 2g). In addition, Kuznetsov became the third rookie in Capitals playoff history to record three points in a game, joining Zednik and Gonchar.

In Game 7 against the Islanders, Kuznetsov scored the game-winning goal with 7:18 remaining in the third period in the Capitals 2-1 victory. Kuznetsov is the first rookie in Capitals playoff history to score a series-clinching goal in a Game 7 and is one of six rookies in NHL history to score the game-winning goal in a Game 7 decided by a one-goal margin. The others are Toronto's Gerry Ehman in 1953 (at Boston), Montreal's Claude Lemieux in 1986 (vs. Hartford in OT), Calgary's Perry Berezan in 1986 (at Edmonton), Dallas' Roman Lyashenko in 2000 (vs. Colorado) and New Jersey’s Adam Henrique in 2012 (vs. Florida in 2OT). Kuznetsov finished the postseason ranked tied for first among Capitals skaters in goals and tied for fourth on the team in points.

Kuznetsov has represented Russia at three World Championships (2012, 2013, 2014), two World Junior Championships (2011, 2012) and two World U18 Championships (2009, 2010). The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native won a gold medal with Russia at the 2012 and 2014 World Championship and at the 2011 World Junior Championship. In 2012, Kuznetsov captained Russia to a silver medal at the World Junior Championship and was named to the tournament all-star team, the tournament’s best forward, one of the top-3 best players on his team and won the tournament MVP.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida


Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby. Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps


4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes of the game in a 3-2 loss for Washington.

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus after that. But he did. He started off the game very well, making several strong saves. Washington scored late in the first period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking and Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but even a point.