- © RIA Novosti. Alexei Kudenko
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Kudenko
MOSCOW, January 19 (R-Sport) – Traktor Chelyabinsk forward Evgeny Kuznetsov told R-Sport on Sunday he will make good on his vow to join the Washington Capitals at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old is set to join fellow Russians Alexander Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov at the Capitals, who drafted him 26th overall in 2010 and had been expecting him in summer 2012. Kuznetsov backtracked and decided to stay in his home town for two more seasons.
“Everything has been decided long ago, so I won’t stay for 10 or 15 million,” Kuznetsov said. “People have been waiting for me, writing and coming here for three years. I’m a decent man and I will keep my word.”
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound forward failed to make Russia’s Olympic roster following mediocre performances in an injury-plagued season. Kuznetsov has notched up 14 points in 23 games, and is currently recovering from a leg injury picked up on Christmas Day.
Kuznetsov said he wasn't surprised to be left off coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's roster.
“I’m not stupid, so I understood everything beforehand,” he said. “Every player hopes to play at the Olympics, so I was also dreaming about it. But I think everything is fair and all the best [players] go to the Olympic Games.”
In five KHL seasons, Kuznetsov has 77 goals and 83 assists for 160 points in 243 games. He was an All-Star in 2011-12 and 2012-13.