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CAPS GM BRIAN MACLELLAN APPEARS TO BACKPEDAL ON TRADING EVGENY KUZNETSOV

JUL 24, 2021  (19H23)      MIKE ARMENTI
This season was a particularly tough one for Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has found himself in management's doghouse one too many times.

After Kuznetsov, along with Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov, broke COVID-19 protocol in the early-going of the season, there were rumours that the Capitals could look to make a bold change this offseason, with Kuznetsov's name among those who would be near the top of the list to move, given his repeated indiscretions and large salary.

The rumours really seemed to take on a life of their own this offseason, with one of the main reasons being the contract status of Ovechkin, who is a pending UFA, in need of a new deal. Meanwhile, GM Brian MacLellan did not do much to dissuade the rumours by admitting that the Caps would be willing to listen to offers on several players, Kuznetsov among them.

In the latest development, following the draft on Saturday, MacLellan suggested that, despite popular belief, the Capitals could actually retain Kuznetsov's services this season.

"He's a good player," said MacLellan of Kuznetsov. "We like the player and I don't know, we've never said we're trading Kuznetsov. I said we're open to discussions with most of our players for the trade market... it's never been 'we are moving Kuznetsov'".

The Capitals have approximately $9.7M in cap space, though there are at least 3 major pieces that need to be secured. Ovechkin, Samsonov and a backup goaltender. Obviously, $9.7M is not going to go a long way with Ovechkin due, so something's gotta give.

Perhaps this is merely posturing to drive up a potential return on Kuznetsov, but nevertheless, MacLellan's comments are interesting, because someone will have to move. I would imagine that we will, ultimately, see one of Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie or perhaps even someone like Tom Wilson on the move at some point this offseason.

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NHL STATS
PLAYOFFS
2020-2021GPGAPTS
NIKITA KUCHEROV
2382432
BRAYDEN POINT
2314923
VICTOR HEDMAN
2321618
STEVEN STAMKOS
2381018
ALEXANDER KILLORN
198917
WILLIAM KARLSSON
1941216
NICK SUZUKI
227916
NATHAN MACKINNON
108715
DAVID PASTRNAK
117815
MATHEW BARZAL
196814
TYLER TOFFOLI
225914
MIKKO RANTANEN
105813
GABRIEL LANDESKOG
104913
JOSH BAILEY
196713
ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER
195813
JEAN-GABRIEL PAGEAU
1931013
ONDREJ PALAT
235813
BRAD MARCHAND
118412
CHARLIE MCAVOY
1111112
BROCK NELSON
197512
  COMPLETE STATS
NHL STATS
YESTERDAY
JULY 7, 2021 G A PTS
ROSS COLTON
1 - 1
RYAN MCDONAGH
- 1 1
DAVID SAVARD
- 1 1
JOSH ANDERSON
- - -
JOEL ARMIA
- - -
PAUL BYRON
- - -
COLE CAUFIELD
- - -
ERIK CERNAK
- - -
BEN CHIAROT
- - -
ANTHONY CIRELLI
- - -
  COMPLETE RESULTS