Evgeny Kuznetsov has been in the news a lot over the past few months and that does not seem to be changing even with the Capitals’ season now being complete. Kuznetsov’s name popped up again in a report on Saturday from The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
In that story, LeBrun confirms an earlier report from colleague Tarik El-Bashir that Kuznetsov has recently changed agents from Maxim Moliver to Don Meehan and Craig Oster of Newport Sports.
Lebrun adds that those Meehan and Oster plan to speak with Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan about Kuznetsov at some point in the near future.
The news that Kuznetsov changed representation earlier this season is made more interesting by the now well-known Russian report that dropped in late March saying Kuznetsov had twice previously requested a trade from the Capitals through his agent.
Kuznetsov gave a non-answer of sorts when eventually asked about that report, saying there was nothing to comment on and blaming the media for wanting likes on social media.
At Breakdown Day on Saturday, Kuznetsov was not asked to address the reported trade requests again. Later that day LeBrun came out with his article outlining that Kuznetsov’s new agents want to have a direct discussion with MacLellan, the man that could control the Russian centerman’s fate for next season.
Kuznetsov is coming off a poor 2022-23 campaign that MacLellan said he was not happy with in his own media availability on Saturday.
“Probably disappointed in it,” MacLellan said. “I think it wasn’t as good as last year. I liked his season last year. He played well. For whatever reason he never quite found his game. There were stretches where I thought he played well but overall I think he underperformed the season he had last year.”
MacLellan also commented on how this upcoming offseason he is more open than he has been in the past to maybe tweak the core of players that have been around since the team won the Stanley Cup in 2018. Kuznetsov is included in that group.
“We’ll look at some things for sure,” MacLellan said. “Sometimes making changes just to make a change is not right but we’re gonna look for opportunities. Opportunities present themselves in free agency and the trade market as we go towards the draft. We would be more open-minded to opportunities that present themselves this year. That would be the way to put it for me.”
Kuznetsov has two years remaining on his current contract which pays him $7.8 million annually. That contract also includes a modified no-trade clause that allows him to select 10 teams he will not accept a trade to.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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