Kuznetsov expects to still be with Caps for the 2021-22 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
There is plenty of speculation surrounding the future of Evgeny Kuznetsov in Washington. He, however, is not buying it.
In an end-of-season press conference, Kuznetsov was asked if he believed he would be with the Capitals next season.
“Of course. I like this team,” Kuznetsov said. “I like to be here and this organization, the team, did a lot of good things for me and I believe I’ve done some good things also.”
Drafted by Washington in 2010, Kuznetsov just wrapped up his eighth NHL season. The 2021 season was a tough one as he registered only nine goals and 20 assists in 41 games. He also tested positive for COVID-19 twice, broke the NHL’s health and safety protocols and was benched for a game for being late to a team function.
The benching came in May and it was that incident that seemed to spark the Kuznetsov rumors. Pierre LeBrun first reported the possibility of Kuznetsov being moved in the offseason saying, “Keep an eye on this one as far as I believe Washington perhaps being willing to listen to trade offers for Kuznetsov this offseason.”
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan also did nothing to quell those rumors with his end-of-year media availability on Wednesday.
“I think we’re always open to trading people if it makes sense for what’s going on,” MacLellan said of Kuznetsov. “If it’s going to make our team better, I think we’re open to it.”
Kuznetsov, however, is unconcerned. He has heard the rumors — which have become impossible to ignore — but he is not worried about outside speculation.
“All I’m worried about what people inside the team and what coaches, what they think actually and what they want me to do,” Kuznetsov said. “If I am not success then those rumors will be for every player. Like that is the business right? and I understand that whatever is going to happen, my job is just to be in shape, practice and perform on the ice.
“I’m a nice person, I am never going to complain about anything because I understand that if I didn’t [have] success on the ice that I know I have to be better and know that is how life will be.”