Washington Capitals scratch star player, leading to trade connections

Published December 4, 2023 at 12:35
Moments ago, news broke that the Washington Capitals will be healthy scratching forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for their game in Arizona tonight.

Through 19 games this season, Kuznetsov hasn't lived up to expectations, only producing 4 goals and 5 assists. His defensive play has also been fairly poor, so far with a -5 rating this season, but he also owned a brutal -26 last year. With his contract expiring at the end of next season, Kuznetsov will seriously need to pick up his play to be worth the $7.8M he's owed each year.

With the Capitals clearly in a re-tooling era, the team may look to move on from Kuznetsov if they believe the can be more competitive without him. The team is aggressively trying to remain in the playoff hunt while Alexander Ovechkin is still on the team, and if they need to move off the veteran Kuznetsov, they will do so. Currently, they sit third in the metropolitan division, ahead of teams like the Devils, Penguins, and Islanders.

The Capitals are currently up against the salary cap, so any move from Kuznetsov likely wouldn't include salary retention. Perhaps even, trading Kuznetsov could be seen as a cap-dump. However, finding his game after this mental reset would be the best case scenario for the team, and they could potentially get the high-ceiling talent Kuznetsov brings to a feisty Capitals team this year.
December 4   |   135 answers
Washington Capitals scratch star player, leading to trade connections

What will the Caps do with Kuznetsov?

He'll be fine, just needs a reset3123 %
They'll look to trade him5742.2 %
His contract sucks, he's stuck there4734.8 %
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