This just in: restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov has just re-signed with the Capitals, inking an eight-year, $62.4 million contract. The deal will keep Kuznetsov in DC until the 2024-25 season and pay the Russian center an average annual salary of $7.8 million
Kuznetsov is one of the most talented centers in the game, and now he will be paid like one. Kuznetsov led the Capitals in points (77) during the 2015-16 season, becoming the first player not named Backstrom or Ovechkin to do so in over a decade. During the 2016-17 campaign, the 25-year-old Kuznetsov tallied 59 points, ranking second on the team in assists (40) and third in points.
According to the Capitals’ Mike Vogel, Kuznetsov is now the eighth highest paid center in the game and the second highest-paid Capital, trailing only Alex Ovechkin ($9,538,462).
In terms of average annual salary cap hit, Kuznetsov becomes the league’s eighth highest paid center, coming in behind Chicago’s Jonathan Toews ($10.5 million), Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar ($10 million), Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin ($9.5 million) and Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million), Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos ($8.5 million), Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux ($8.25 million) and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf ($8 million), all according to capfriendly.com.
Dallas’ Jason Spezza ($7.5 million) and Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly ($7.5 million round out the top 10, while Boston’s David Krejci ($7.25 million), St. Louis’ Paul Stastny ($7 million) and Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin ($7 million) are the only other pivots in the league whose average annual cap hits come in as high as $7 million.
The structure of Kuznetsov’s contract will pay the Chelyabinsk native a large signing bonus every season. He also has a modified no-trade clause during the last six years of the contract.
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) July 2, 2017
Over the last 10 days, the Capitals have committed $139 million to three players (Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and TJ Oshie).
The Capitals will now turn their attention to restricted free agents Andre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer, and then somehow find a way to get under the $75 million cap for next season. Teams are allowed to exceed the cap ceiling by 10% ($82.5 million) during the offseason. To begin shedding salary, the Capitals traded Marcus Johansson and his $4.6 million cap hit to the New Jersey Devils for a second and third round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 3, 2017
According to Cap Friendly, the Caps now have $9.2 million of space left to fit Burakovsky, Grubauer and seven other guys on their roster. Yikes.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 2, 2017
More from the Capitals:
The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to an eight-year, $62.4 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years,” said MacLellan. “It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL.”
Kuznetsov, 25, registered 59 points (19g, 40a) in 82 games with the Capitals during the 2016-17 season. The 6’2”, 192-pound center ranked second on the team in assists, third in points and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (4). In addition, he played in all 82 games for the second consecutive season (2015-16). Kuznetsov was selected by the Capitals in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft and has earned 182 points (53g, 129a) in 261 career NHL games with Washington. He ranks third among players in the 2010 NHL Draft class in career assists per game (0.49) and fifth in points per game (0.70).
Kuznetsov led the Capitals with 77 points (20g, 57a) in 82 games during the 2015-16 season, becoming the first player other than Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom to lead the Capitals in points since 2003-04 (Robert Lang: 74). In addition, Kuznetsov became the 10th player in franchise history and the seventh Russian-born player in NHL history to record 57 or more assists in a season. The Moscow native finished the 2015-16 season ranked second in the NHL in assists per 60 minutes (2.39), fourth in assists and points per 60 minutes (3.24), tied for sixth in plus/minus and tied for ninth in points. Kuznetsov also led the NHL in primary assists (43), marking the most primary assists in a season since 2011-12 (Evgeni Malkin: 46).
During the 2014-15 season, Kuznetsov earned 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games with Washington, marking the most points by a Capitals rookie since John Carlson (37) in 2010-11. He also became the 13th rookie in franchise history to earn 25 or more assists in a season. Kuznetsov ranked eighth among NHL rookies in assists (26) and ninth in points (37).
Kuznetsov played in his 200th NHL/Capitals game on Nov. 26, 2016 at Toronto. His 132 points (37g, 95a) through his first 200 games marked the sixth-most points for a Capitals player through his first 200 games (since 1987-88). Kuznetsov trails Ovechkin (240), Backstrom (197), Dmitri Khristich (178), Peter Bondra (164) and Alex Semin (151). In addition, Kuznetsov earned his 100th NHL/Capitals assist on Dec. 11, 2016 against Vancouver, becoming the fourth-fastest player in franchise history to reach 100 NHL/Capitals assists (206 GP), trailing Backstrom (138 GP), Ovechkin (159 GP) and Mike Gartner (194 GP).
Kuznetsov has represented Russia at the World Cup (2016), three World Championships (2012, 2013, 2014, 2017), two World Junior Championships (2011, 2012) and two World U18 Championships (2009, 2010). Kuznetsov 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.
Per @VogsCaps, Kuzy’s new deal is 10.4% of the total salary cap. When Backstrom signed his current 10-year deal that pact represented 11.28%
— Sergey Kocharov (@SergeyKocharov) July 2, 2017
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