Capitals

Capitals

It took several years for Evgeny Kuznetsov to come to the NHL, but in his second full season he proved to be as good as advertised.

The Capitals' first-round draft pick from 2010, Kuznetsov lead the team in points last season with 77, more than doubling his production from the season before. As a result, NHL Network declared Kuznetsov the top breakout player for the season.

Posted on NHL.com, the article writes:

Kuznetsov, 24, tied for ninth in the NHL in points and helped the Capitals to a 56-18-8 record. They won the Metropolitan Division and the Presidents' Trophy. He led the Capitals with a plus-27 rating and was third in shots on goal with 193. Kuznetsov added another element to Washington's offense; the Capitals had primarily relied on Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in previous years.

Despite his fantastic showing in the regular season, Kuznetsov failed to make the same impact in the postseason with only one goal and one assist in 12 games. The season before, Kuznetsov tallied five goals and two assists in 14 games. Clearly he's not flying under the radar anymore.

As teams learn to adjust for him, Kuznetsov now must adjust to his opponents in the postseason. He is too big of a factor for this team to go silent in the playoffs. Barring an unforeseen collapse, the Caps will almost certainly be back in the postseason in 2017. That is where Kuznetsov needs to have his next breakout performance.

 

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