Washington Capitals: Five Teams That Could Trade For Evgeny Kuznetsov

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals have a lot of questions to answer this off-season. There may be no bigger question for this team than what will happen with star center Evgeny Kuznetsov. It’s not very often top six centers become available via trade. However, after several inconsistent seasons, and seemingly more and more off ice issues it seems Washington is at least willing to talk trades for the highly skilled centerman.

Highly skilled is a thing he certainly is. Kuznetsov broke out as a top line guy back in 2015-16 where he scored 20 goals and added 57 assists for 77 points. Two years later he recorded career highs in goals and points with 27 goals and 56 assists for 83 points. The next season wasn’t half bad either even though the numbers were down. He had 72 points in 76 games played.

On top of all of those numbers Kuznetsov showed what he can truly do in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. You could have made a solid argument that he could have/should have won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP that year. It went to Alex Ovechkin instead who had five less points, but had 15 goals in 24 games. Kuznetsov ended up with 12 goals and 32 points in 24 games.

There were plenty of reasons the Capitals finally broke through and won the Stanley Cup in 2018, but to me the biggest reason was Kuznetsov’s performance. You can’t tell me it was a coincidence that the one year the Capitals get a performance like that from someone other than Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom that they win the Cup.

In my opinion, it’s been since that playoff run that Kuznetsov has had some severe consistency issues. These days it’s way more likely you won’t notice the Capitals top line center than him putting in a great effort. That’s been something that has bitten the Capitals three playoffs in a row.

To be fair to Kuznetsov it’s not just him that has put forward poor efforts in recent playoffs. At the same time most players on this team don’t make the money he does which makes him the bigger issue.

To go along with his on ice issues he has had some off ice problems as well. He was suspended in 2019 after due to cocaine use. This past season he was also forced to miss time twice thanks to COVID-19 protocols.

If people are confused as to why this player could be on the trade block just show them all of that. Right now he’s unreliable. That’s why Kuznetsov could find himself out of D.C. this off-season.

If the Capitals did try to trade him, which teams could end up trading for the 29-year-old? Here are five teams that I think could make a run at him.

Before we show the teams I want to point out a few things. It should probably be obvious, but I have no inside knowledge here. This list is purely on rumors around the NHL and teams that seemingly want to make a move for a center this summer.

Kuznetsov also has a 15 team no trade list. I’m going to do something I don’t advise doing and trying to jump into someone else’s head. Judging him, I don’t think he would accept a trade to a place like Columbus or Arizona. No offense to those cities but they don’t seem to attract players like Kuznetsov. This list will be a lot of “flashy” cities with a possibility of success.

I’d also like to point out I don’t think Kuznetsov gets moved. I don’t think the Capitals will get what they want in a trade and trading him likely opens up a hole they won’t be able to fill.

I don’t do the trade proposal game either. I don’t pretend to know what teams want, need or what someone’s value is. This list will basically be teams that have been in the news that could want a top line center.

With all of that being said, here are the five teams I can see possibly being interested in Kuznetsov.