The Washington Capitals have made center Evgeny Kuznetsov a very rich man. The team announced on Sunday they have signed the 25-year old to a eight-year deal worth $62.4 million.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 2, 2017
Kuznetsov became a restricted free agent on Saturday. But the Capitals wasted no time locking up the dynamic forward through the 2024-25 season. His $7.8 million per year average makes him the second-highest paid player on the Capitals behind Alex Ovechkin.
Last season, he scored 19 goals and notched 59 points in his fourth season in Washington. In 2015-16, he led the team with 77 points. His skill set and youth led to the massive deal. Washington could ill-afford losing such an asset.
Of course there will be ramifications for the Capitals to drop such a hefty bag on the young Russian. The team is in dire need of clearing cap space, which means they will have to make some rash decisions. The Capitals already have re-signed T.J. Oshie and defenseman Dmitry Orlov to long-term contracts.
By aggressively re-signing three key parts to their core, it’s clear the Capitals are retooling rather than rebuilding. And any future dominoes to the roster will have their determination of getting over the hump and winning the long awaited Stanley Cup in mind.