Evgeny Kuznetsov. The 23 year old wonder kid from Chelyabisk, Russia is a player who is destined for great things.
From the time he was drafted in the 2010 until he finally joined the ranks of the Washington Capitals in 2013 he was eagerly anticipated. The fans were desperate to see what he could do.
Could he help finally bring Lord Stanley home to Washington?
He has, to date, registered 111 points with 65 of them coming from the first 62 games of this season. So he has certainly not disappointed. He’s not just an amazing player on the ice but a stand up guy and a bit of a joker off it too. He is also a bit of a gentleman, recently coming to the aid of an ice girl who slipped over during a pre-game skate.
When he scored his first career hat-trick this year, Ovechkin was one of the first to publicly congratulate him, with a shaving cream caked towel to the face. Ever the professional Kuznetsov still made it to the end of the interview with a grin on his face.
He’s everything Washington has come to look for in a Russian superstar but then he’s learning from arguably the best, in the Great Eight.
If it’s not goals, then it’s some of the most spectacular and at times, seemingly impossible assists. Earning him the nickname Harry Potter from his team mates because he’s simply magic.
Justin William’s has said “it’s his ability to find you in space, even if you’re not sure you’re in space.” To his incredible reverse passes, Kuzy has the ability to find Washington’s top goal scorers with pinpoint accuracy – whether he’s looking or not.
If you needed any further proof of Kuzy’s star power you got it a few weeks ago. When the Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin pulled out of the All-Star break at the last moment with a nagging lower body injury there was no question as to who would replace him and he did it in fine form. This youngster, in only his 3rd season, was called up. The Metropolitan Division simply replaced one Russian superstar with another.
In true Kuzy fashion he paid homage to his friend and captain in fine fashion. With the aid of Nicklas Backstrom, he pulled off the perfect breakaway challenge, a do-over of Evgeni Malkin & Alex Ovechkin’s attempt in 2009.
Although he didn’t win, losing out to PK Subban’s Jagr impression he still seemed to be having a good time, telling one interviewer that it was like a late Christmas present to be there.
The future remains to be seen with this one, but if his past accomplishments are anything to go by I’d put my money on it being a bright one. He’s a valuable member of the Capitals top 6 and one day could possibly step into the shoes of the Gr8 himself.