What trading Evgeny Kuznetsov at the NHL trade deadline means for Capitals future

50 percent retention salary and a rival for now.

Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Washington Capitals made a splash at the trade deadline by dealing Stanley Cup hero Evgeny Kuznetsov, possibly plaquing their center depth in the short term. The draft pick is a good long term return unless said pick is a bust. But the big L to take away from this is that the Caps have to retain 50 percent of his salary which won't help them now.

The Caps hold $3.9 million, per CapFriendly, in Kuznetsov's salary becasue no team wanted to take on his $7.8 million dollar cap hit. So the team used the power of misdirection as he practiced with the Hershey Bears before being traded just after the team so happened to land in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fooled us.

Cap Friendly also notes the Caps used their limit on dead cap retention by retaining $2.85 million of Anthony Mantha's contract while he goes for a Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights before he can re sign there or hit the open market. For Joel Edmundson the Caps got a pick from the Maple Leafs and retained just $875K of his cap hit.

That's a grand total of over $7 million this season yikes. But only Kuznetsov's contract next season before he too can hit the open market. So a playoff run and a season of Kuznetsov on a division rival is one con. But hey it could've been Pittsburgh, New York or Philly.

The Caps currently have Kuznetsov on a rival while Nicklas Backstrom is on long term injured reserve or LTIR for short. His future, Backstrom that is, is unknown. There's one more season left on his current deal which was a $9.2 million cap hit at the time he signed it before the pandemic.

What's the present and what's the future? It's an interesting time to be a fan or follower of the Capitals.