Evgeny Kuznetsov

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Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov 2018-04-29.jpg
Kuznetsov with the Capitals in 2018
Born (1992-05-19) 19 May 1992 (age 26)
Chelyabinsk, Russia
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Washington Capitals
Traktor Chelyabinsk
National team  Russia
NHL Draft 26th overall, 2010
Washington Capitals
Playing career 2007–present

Yevgeny Yevgenyevich Kuznetsov (Russian: Евгений Евгеньевич Кузнецов; born 19 May 1992) is a Russian professional ice hockey forward currently playing for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL). He previously played for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He has represented Russia in junior and senior level competitions on numerous occasions, winning gold medals at the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, as well as at the 2012 IIHF World Championship and 2014 IIHF World Championship. Kuznetsov won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018 and was the highest scoring player in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs with 32 points, the most by any player in a single postseason since Evgeni Malkin in 2009. Kuznetsov is known for his bird celebration he used throughout the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Playing career[edit]


Kuznetsov made his professional debut in the 2009–10 season with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. That season, he played 35 games, totaling eight points. After his performance for Traktor, he was ranked as the third-best European skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, where he was eventually selected in the first round, 26th overall, by the Washington Capitals.[1][2]

Kuznetsov steps on the ice prior to the start of Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the 2011–12 season, Kuznetsov was selected[3] to the KHL All-Star Game. During the season, he also won the Continental Cup and bronze medals with his team. It was reported that during the 2013–14 season, Kuznetsov earned $3.8 million to play for Traktor.[4]

On 8 March 2014, Kuznetsov signed an entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals.[5] On 25 March, he scored his first career NHL goal, which happened to be a short-handed goal, against the Los Angeles Kings with under a minute left to tie the game; the Capitals, however, eventually lost 5–4 in the shootout.

On 23 April 2015, Kuznetsov scored the first and second Stanley Cup playoff goals of his career against the New York Islanders. In the same game, he also had an assist in an eventual 5–1 Washington win. On 27 April 2015, he scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-finals against the Islanders in the same series, advancing the Capitals to a Conference Semi-finals match-up against the 2014–15 Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers.

During the 2015–16 season, Kuznetsov was named to his first All-Star Game as a replacement for Alexander Ovechkin, who pulled out due to a lower-body injury.

On 2 July 2017, the Capitals re-signed Kuznetsov (a restricted free agent) to an eight-year, $62.4 million contract worth $7.8 million per season.[6][7]

2018 Stanley Cup[edit]

In 24 playoff games in 2018, Kuznetsov had 12 goals and 20 assists for a total of 32 points, second only to Evgeni Malkin in 2009 among players in the last 25 seasons of Stanley Cup playoffs.[8] Kuznetsov’s series-clinching overtime winner in Game 6 against Pittsburgh secured the Capitals’ first berth in the Eastern Conference Final since 1998, ending years of playoff failure against the Penguins.[9] His four assists in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals made him only the fourth NHL player to record that many in a finals game, the first in 22 years.[10] Kuznetsov led the league with 32 points in 24 appearances in the 2018 postseason, but lost to linemate and team captain Alex Ovechkin in the Conn Smythe Trophy competition.[11]

"In helping deliver a championship Washington had wanted for more than 40 years, Kuznetsov was arguably the Capitals' most instrumental player. The 26-year-old, fifth-year pro finished with a playoff-leading 32 points, including his 20th assist in Thursday night's series-clinching 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5."[12]

— W. G. Ramirez, Associated Press

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association determined the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy on a 5-3-1 basis, with the final tally determined by the NHL with ten minutes remaining in Game 5 of the finals. All but two of the votes were cast for Washington Capitals players, with Kuznetsov and Ovechkin receiving inverse totals — Ovechkin took 13 first-place votes and five second place, while Kuznetsov received five first-place votes and 13 second place. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby was the third-place choice of 16 voters. Golden Knights goalie Marc-André Fleury received the remaining two third-place votes.[13]

Player profile[edit]

Kuznetsov is considered one of the most accurate players in the game. Capitals teammate Tom Wilson says of him, "He just tells me to put my stick on the ice and he'll hit it. It's a privilege to play with him. He's one of the best at his craft."[14] Kuznetsov has played in the shadows of fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin, but his talent is gaining attention. As former Capitals coach Barry Trotz explained:[15][8]

Ovi has been a staple since he's come into the league. Kuzy is a little newer. People don't really know him as well as Ovi. You're seeing the talent of Kuzy. You've seen the greatness of Ovi over the course of his career to this point. I think Kuzy is just getting better and better. He’s taken a bigger piece of this team.

Trotz considers Kuznetsov to be a highly intelligent player, saying: "Kuznetsov has an extremely high hockey IQ. He loves to study film. He sees what others don't."[16] Teammate Lars Eller agrees, stating: "Kuzy has a very high IQ. He’s a very smart player."[17]

"One of the most dynamic players, and he can take over the league if he wants to. I think he’s that talented and sees the game better than anyone else."[18]

Kuznetsov has generated controversy around his celebrations after making goals. His "cellies" have most prominently included the prancing bird — and earlier the kayak, push-ups, and playing dead.[19] Kuznetsov debuted the bird dance at the 2016 World Cup when he scored a goal-to-goal score against Matt Murray of Team North America. After taking a break from the celebration, his "joyful prancing bird celebration" reappeared in the 2018 NHL post-season.[19] Kuznetsov claims he brought back the bird because his daughter "loves that stuff."[20] Teammate Tom Wilson loves "to see the wings come out." As he sees it, "That means he’s checked in and playing with fire. If he scores a big goal like that, I’m not going to tell him he can’t. Do whatever you want with your celebration." Kuznetsov "lifted" the bird dance celebration from the FIFAsoccer video game.[19]

International play[edit]

A short- and light brown-haired caucasian male in a red, Russian, ice hockey uniform is holding a small glass award.
Evgeny Kuznetsov accepting a post-game award at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships
Medal record
Representing  Russia
Men's ice hockey
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2012 Finland
Gold medal – first place 2014 Belarus
Bronze medal – third place 2016 Russia
Bronze medal – third place 2017 Germany/France
World Junior Championships
Gold medal – first place 2011 United States
Silver medal – second place 2012 Canada
IIHF World U18 Championships
Silver medal – second place 2009 United States

Kuznetsov played for Russia at the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships held in Saskatchewan, Canada. He finished the tournament with two goals and was selected as the player of the game for Russia after the preliminary round game against Austria.[21]

Kuznetsov again represented Russia in the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. He was the only 18-year-old on the Russian team; every other player was 19.[22] He finished second in the tournament in scoring, with four goals and seven assists in seven games. He also had three assists in the gold medal game, in which Russia overcame a 3–0 deficit in the third period against Canada to win 5–3. Kuznetsov was named by the tournament coaches as one of the three best players on his team,[23] and was named to the tournament all-star team by the media.[24] He was also named the best player in the match against Norway, in which he recorded one goal and one assist.[25] He finished tied for second in the tournament in scoring, alongside teammate Vladimir Tarasenko, with four goals and seven assists.[26]

Kuznetsov then served as team captain for Russia at the 2012 World Junior Championships, the third year in a row he participated in the tournament. On 29 December 2011, in a game against Latvia, Kuznetsov recorded three goals and six assists for nine points in an emphatic 14–0 win for Russia. This set a record for most points by a Russian player at the World Juniors, as well as the second-highest total in a game in the history of the tournament, one point behind Peter Forsberg of Sweden, who set the record in 1993.[27]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Bold indicates led league

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2007–08 Traktor-2 Chelyabinsk RUS-3 2 0 0 0 0
2008–09 Traktor-2 Chelyabinsk RUS-3 22 5 15 16 40
2009–10 Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk MHL 9 4 12 16 8 2 1 2 3 4
2009–10 Traktor Chelyabinsk KHL 35 2 6 8 10 4 1 0 1 0
2010–11 Traktor Chelyabinsk KHL 44 17 15 32 30
2010–11 Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk MHL 8 10 5 15 4 5 0 2 2 10
2011–12 Traktor Chelyabinsk KHL 49 19 21 40 30 12 7 2 9 10
2012–13 Traktor Chelyabinsk KHL 51 19 25 44 42 25 5 6 11 28
2013–14 Traktor Chelyabinsk KHL 31 8 13 21 12
2013–14 Washington Capitals NHL 17 3 6 9 6
2014–15 Washington Capitals NHL 80 11 26 37 24 14 5 2 7 8
2015–16 Washington Capitals NHL 82 20 57 77 32 12 1 1 2 8
2016–17 Washington Capitals NHL 82 19 40 59 46 13 5 5 10 8
2017–18 Washington Capitals NHL 79 27 56 83 48 24 12 20 32 16
KHL totals 210 65 81 146 124 53 14 9 23 46
NHL totals 340 80 185 265 156 63 23 28 51 40


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2009 Russia U18 2nd, silver medalist(s) 7 6 7 13 10
2010 Russia U18 4th 7 5 7 12 6
2010 Russia WJC 6th 6 2 0 2 10
2011 Russia WJC 1st, gold medalist(s) 7 4 7 11 4
2012 Russia WJC 2nd, silver medalist(s) 6 6 7 13 2
2012 Russia WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 10 2 4 6 4
2013 Russia WC 6th 3 1 0 1 2
2014 Russia WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 10 1 1 2 4
2016 Russia WC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 6 1 1 2 0
2016 Russia WCH 4th 4 2 0 2 6
2017 Russia WC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 5 1 2 3 6
Junior totals 33 23 28 51 32
Senior totals 38 8 8 16 22

Honors, awards, and distinctions[edit]

Award Year
IIHF World U18 Championships First Team All-Star[28] 2010
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships First Team All-Star[29] 2011
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships First Team All-Star 2012
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships Best Forward 2012
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships Most Valuable Player 2012
NHL First Star of the Week 18 October 2015 – 25 October 2015 2015
NHL All Star Game 2016
NHL First Star of the Month January 2016
Stanley Cup Champion 2018
Prince of Wales Trophy 2018
  • Kuznetsov led the league with 32 points in 24 appearances in the 2018 postseason, narrowly losing to linemate and team captain Alex Ovechkin in the Conn Smythe Trophy competition.[11]


  1. ^ NHL Central Scouting (2010). "International Skaters Final Ranking" (PDF). NHL.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  2. ^ Kimelman, Adam (2010-06-26). "Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin selections start to wild first round". NHL.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  3. ^ "Vote's result of the 2012 KHL All-Star Game". KHL.com. 2012. 
  4. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1876477-predicting-the-next-5-washington-capitals-prospects-to-arrive-in-the-nhl/page/4
  5. ^ "Capitals agree to terms with Kuznetsov". capitalstoday.com. 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  6. ^ http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/evgeny-kuznetsov-re-signs-capitals-eight-years/
  7. ^ https://www.nhl.com/news/evgeny-kuznetsov-signs-8-year-contract-with-washington-capitals/c-290185392
  8. ^ a b Petchesky, Barry (2018-06-05). "This Is Evgeny Kuznetsov's Time". Deadspin. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  9. ^ Raby, Ben (2018-05-09). "Is Evgeny Kuznetsov's game winner the greatest goal in Capitals' history?". wtop.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12. 
  10. ^ Greenberg, Neil (2018-06-05). "Analysis | Evgeny Kuznetsov should have slight edge over Alex Ovechkin for Conn Smythe". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  11. ^ a b RotoWire (2018-06-09). "Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov: Finishes with league-best 32 playoff points". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12. 
  12. ^ "Kuznetsov and Holtby prove just as valuable as Ovechkin". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  13. ^ "Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby finish behind Alex Ovechkin in Conn Smythe voting". Russian Machine Never Breaks. 2018-06-13. Retrieved 2018-06-14. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (2018-06-05). "Washington Capitals move one win closer to Stanley Cup title". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  15. ^ Whyno, Stephen. "Caps' Ovechkin and Kuznetsov inspire Russian players, fans". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  16. ^ Boswell, Thomas (2016-03-03). "What's Russian for 'brilliant'? Evgeny Kuznetsov". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  17. ^ "Evgeny Kuznetsov's practice presence a promising sign for Capitals - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  18. ^ "Caps' Kuznetsov shakes off injury, scores in Stanley Cup Game 3". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  19. ^ a b c Fox, Luke (2017-04-29). "Kuznetsov doesn't care if bird celebration ruffles feathers - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  20. ^ Abramo, Donya (2018-05-06). "Evgeny Kuznetsov on bringing back the bird walk celly: 'My daughter loves that stuff'". Russian Machine Never Breaks. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  21. ^ IIHF (2010-01-06). "Best Players per Game" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  22. ^ Meltzer, Bill (2011-01-05). "Russia's comeback kids ready for WJC gold medal game". NHL.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  23. ^ IIHF (2011-01-05). "Best Players of Each Team Selected by Coaches" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  24. ^ IIHF (2011-01-05). "Media All Stars" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  25. ^ IIHF (2011-01-05). "Best Players per Game" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  26. ^ IIHF (2011-01-05). "Scoring Leaders" (PDF). IIHF.com. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  27. ^ Aykroyd, Lucas (29 December 2011). "Nine-point night for Kuznetsov". IIHF.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  28. ^ http://www.eliteprospects.com/awards.php?award=U18%20WJC%20All-Star%20Team
  29. ^ https://www.tsn.ca/World_jrs/feature/?id=1324

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Marcus Johansson
Washington Capitals first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Filip Forsberg