In late August, the Washington Capitals signed Russian forward Sergei Shumakov to a one-year, entry-level deal. What wasn’t known then was how instrumental Evgeny Kuznetsov was to Shumakov joining the team.
According to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, Kuznetsov called Shumakov and his agent as soon as he saw the rumors connecting the top 20 point-scorer to the Capitals.
Kuznetsov told Khurshudyan at the second day of Capitals training camp, “They said, ‘Yeah, we have a couple teams.’ I said, ‘What do you mean a couple teams? There’s only one team.'”
Kuznetsov’s confidence that the Capitals should be Shumakov’s only option likely carried more weight due to their shared history. Per NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Kuznetsov said that he and Shumakov played hockey together from when they were five-years-old until they were 17.
Evgeny Kuznetsov said he and Sergei Shumakov played together from when they were 5 years old until they were 17. He thinks he's a skilled player who can help the Capitals offensively, but he'll need some time to adjust to playing here after playing in the KHL.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) September 15, 2018
If that connection between the two wasn’t enough, Shumakov proposed to his girlfriend wearing Kuznetsov’s jersey the day after signing with the Capitals.
As for the role that Shumakov will play on the Capitals, general manager Brian Maclellan said that they would evaluate him as training camp continues.
— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinNBCS) September 14, 2018
“We see a player that has ability to score, high level skill,” Maclellan said. “We’re not sure how it translates over here yet. We’re just going to let him come in and find his way, put him some spots, see what he can do. We’ll evaluate that as we go, throughout camp.”
Shumakov was not on the ice as training camp started on Friday, due to issues with his visa. That all appears to be resolved now, as he posted a photo to his Instagram stories from the airport.
Here’s hoping we’ll see Shumakov in action with Kuznetsov and the rest of the Capitals soon.
Headline photo: @Capitals
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