When Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov declared his intention to stay in Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) instead of heading to D.C., Caps fans were dismayed; the second coming of yet another Russian dynamo had been halted.
Yet, there is reason to believe that Kuznetsov might indeed become a member of the Caps in the near future. According to Yahoo! Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov, Kuznetsov's agent, Valery Gushchin, refuted his client's claims just one day after Kuznetsov told Russia's KHL-TV that he would be staying.
Gushchin said that all offers will be considered after May 1 (KHL contracts expire on April 30). Gushchin said that at this point Kuznetsov's mind is set on his team, Traktor, and winning in the KHL playoffs, and that the decision will be made after April 30.
Gushchin's comments mean that whatever Kuznetsov said on that TV show (the clip of which hasn't been posted online yet) is not a final decision at all. It is likely that the camp is trying to hike the price for the player services in the KHL.
Kuznetsov has said that if he were to receive a 10-year contract from the KHL, then he would stay. A KHL contract would be far more lucrative than what the Caps could offer Kuznetsov, which would likely be an entry-level contract worth less than $1 million per season (though, like Alex Ovechkin's rookie contract, the deal could include performance bonuses that push the value towards $4 million).
Washington could use Kuznetsov to solidify their lineup, especially at the second-line center position. Since fellow Russian Sergei Fedorov left for the KHL after the 2008-09 season, the Caps have tried the likes of Brendan Morrison, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Belanger, Brooks Laich, Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson to fill that position with little consistency. Much to the Caps' chagrin, they are not the only team in the city that has had a recent revolving door-like positional problem.
Now that the Washington Redskins' ears are burning, they also have a player in their crosshairs that they hope will finally stop their quarterback carousel in Robert Griffin III. Yet, unlike the Caps, the Redskins did have a player reach a deal this weekend. Quarterback Rex Grossman agreed to a one-year contract Saturday.
In signing the deal, Grossman was aware that his main priority would be to mentor and groom Griffin into the Redskins' quarterback of the future:
"They’re definitely taking a quarterback with the second pick of the draft,” Grossman said. “It’ll probably be RGIII, unless for some unexpected reason the Colts take him. But whether it’s RGIII or Luck, either way, I know that quarterback is going to be the franchise quarterback at some point. Like I said, I just want to be a part of this team. Whether it’s helping that guy get ready to play, or whether it’s playing until he is ready to take over, I just want to help out in whatever way it is.”
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.