Washington Capitals trade Evgeny Kuznetsov to Carolina

Capitals will retain 50 percent of Kuznetsov's salary in the deal
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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There it is. Evgeny Kuznetsov has been sent from the Washington Capitals to the Hershey Bears, who just so happen to be in North Carolina, to the Carolina Hurricanes. The return, in addition to Washington retaining 50 percent of his salary, is a 2025 third round pick.

Kuznetsov has a $7.8 million AAV with one more year left on his contract. It was a saga and it was rocky but the breakup is all but official. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman had the news first.

This was an awkward breakup for someone who ended Pittsburgh's season in the second round helping the Capitals exorcise demons nearly six short years ago. In the playoffs he was a complete beast and he was clutch when the Caps needed him most.

Since then? Not so much. Inconsistency and times where he seemed invisible on the ice were paramount. The Spencer Carbery expiriment did wonders with Anthony Mantha who is now in Vegas but it didn't quite work for Kuzy who had just six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 43 games. His last game in a Capitals sweater was in an overtime loss in Big D to the Stars before the all star break. He was in the NHLPA's Player Assistance program as we speak.

If this change of scenery works, it's a boost for a team that proudly calls themselves a "bunch of jerks". If it fails, Canes fall short of a Stanley Cup once again. But they're betting on someone who had playoff success six years ago to their current team that is just four points behind the Rangers for first in the Metropolitan Division.

For the Capitals, they've stocked up on more draft pieces even if we have to wait a year to see what the return looks like. I guess we can take the future over the present at this point. But it was a breakup that needed to end sooner rather than later.

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