Evgeny Kuznetsov Re-Signs with Capitals on 8-Year, $62.4 Million Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2017

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), from Russia, skates with the puck after loosing his helmet during the second period of Game 7 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The Washington Capitals on Sunday announced they re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to an eight-year contract worth $62.4 million.

"Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years," general manager Brian MacLellan. "It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL."

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Capitals traded forward Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils for two draft picks to clear the cap space for Kuznetsov's new deal.

While it took some sacrifice to keep the offensive force in Washington, he has proved his worth over the past couple of seasons. The team's announcement noted his 77 points in 2015-16 led the team, making him the first player beside Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom to lead the Capitals in that regard since 2003-04.

In addition to the goalscoring opportunities Kuznetsov creates for himself and teammates, he is particularly durable. He played a full 82 games in each of the past two seasons and 80 in the 2014-15 campaign.

He notched 59 points on 40 assists and 19 goals in 2016-17 and helped the Capitals win their second straight Presidents' Trophy. Considering he is only 25, Kuznetsov figures to be a critical piece of Washington's offense for years to come.

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