Russian outlet Match TV released a report on Saturday saying that Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has requested a trade away from the Washington Capitals through his agent. The report included further mention that Kuznetsov has been asking for the move for two years.
The news was buoyed by hockey insider Elliotte Friedman’s take on Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast that the Caps and Kuznetsov “have been headed towards potentially a divorce” for the past couple of years.
Kuznetsov had his first chance to respond to the rumors after Capitals practice on Monday.
“There’s nothing really to put the comments (on), to be honest with you,” Kuznetsov told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti.
“You know how it is. It’s just people trying to put some whatever they want to get the likes on Instagram or tweet or whatever,” he added. “I spoke to those people, and I said, ‘Where is this coming from?’ So…at this point, there is nothing to even talk about.”
Presumably, Kuznetsov means he reached out to Match TV. RMNB has not heard from him.
Kuznetsov has been with the Capitals since the team drafted him 26th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. After almost thirteen years in DC, he says he doesn’t have any intention of leaving just yet.
“Both kids grow up here, born here and I’m happy here and I like the guys,” Kuznetsov said. “I like everything. But you never know. It’s not always on me.”
There has been reported friction in the past between Kuznetsov and Caps decision-makers which primarily appeared throughout the 2021 offseason.
This season the Russian centerman has seen his role on the Capitals decrease — he was bumped off the first line and first unit power play in favor of free agent acquisition Dylan Strome. After being nearly a point-per-game player (78 points in 79 games) in 2021-22, Kuznetsov has only 53 points in 73 games this season.
Kuznetsov has two more seasons left on his deal that carries a $7.8 million cap hit. His contract also holds a modified no-trade clause, allowing him to submit a 10-team no-trade list.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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