There are a few ways a player can send a message to their current organization and let them know that they’re not really interested in remaining with the team. A trade request is the most direct, but in some cases, it potentially takes a bit more than that. In the case of Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Washington Capitals, it sounds like the forward is using his agent to really let the Capitals know their best option is to move him this offseason.
Kuznetsov’s agent, Sergei Fedotov said of his client, “I’ve known Zhenya for a very long time… there are people who are quite disciplined. Zhenya’s not in this category,” Fedotov said, adding, “Right now, he doesn’t have this joy from hockey. And Kuznetsov, without a spark, he’s not interested in anything.”
Well, that’s fairly direct.
Essentially, he’s saying the Caps should trade the player unless they want an unmotivated forward who isn’t going to put in anything close to his best effort each night, simply because he’s lost interest.
The comments come as part of an interview with sports.ru where he described Kuznetsov as no longer having the joy or spark for the game of hockey. Back in 2018, the forward was among the best members of the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals. Since then, he’s been nothing close to that effective a player. This past season he had 12 goals and 43 assists in 81 games and he played better in 2021, but his inconsistency has posed a problem and while 55 points aren’t terrible, it’s not worth the $7.8 million per season he’s making.
GM Brian McLellan was quite critical of Kuznetsov’s play this season saying, “For whatever reason, he never quite found his game. I mean, there are stretches where I thought he played well, but overall, I think he underperformed the season he had last year.” It’s no wonder rumors of a trade request were essentially floating around. Fedotov wouldn’t confirm if those rumors were accurate, but noted, “He just needs a change of scenery.” When Fedotov was asked if it was time for Kuznetsov to move on from the Capitals, he responded, “100 percent.”
It’s hard to imagine his agent putting this kind of thing out there and not having already told this to team management.
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