Capitals look to Russia again in NHL Entry Draft.

Capitals bag another goofy Russian.

If it wasn’t already apparent the Washington Capitals love to draft talented and goofy Russians in the NHL Entry Draft, it is now. With the 26th overall pick, the Capitals selected Evgeny Kuznetsov, a pick General Manager George McPhee said was “unanimous” once the time came.

Kuznetsov is still under contract for Chelyabinsk of the KHL, though McPhee said he may get the chance to play as early as next year for the Capitals. McPhee had been scouting Kuznetsov since the world junior championships and considered trading up as high as 10 picks to take the Russian. Kuznetsov compares his game to that of fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin while others have compared him to the Capital’s own Alexander Semin.

The Capitals already boast three Russian first-round picks on the roster and in a few years, the 18-year-old center could be the fourth. While other teams look to amateur league ranks and prospects from Canada, McPhee has picked from a pool of Russian players other GMs shy away from.

“People are concerned about signing and drafting Russian players, but we just feel that what we’re doing in Ovechkin that he’ll play in Washington,” McPhee said. “We can do some things that other teams are afraid to do.”

The Russian influence has been undeniable for the Capitals, especially with Alex Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamoz and Semin playing great hockey in the district. The pipeline to talented young Russian players is wide open and McPhee has done a great job to facilitate their development to the top level of play in the Verizon Center.

The question is, why would any Russian prospect not want to play in the district?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Capitals look to Russia again in NHL Entry Draft.

  1. The problem with drafting so many Russians is the fact that they do not always play good playoff hockey. Besides Ovechkin most Russians don’t like to hit. It was shown in the Olympics, Europeans in general do not play physical hockey. I love the skill guys but there is a risk, signing wise. I think it is clear that he is a replacement for Semin

  2. That’s actually a really good point and one of the biggest frustrations of Capitals fans is that there are no big hitters. No guys (outside of Ovie) reliably lay down hits and slow the skill players, which is tough to watch.

    The system they run right now is so fast paced and built around getting man advantages down the ice that they expect their defensemen to be quick too. The system is all about scoring, and while they’ve been successful in the regular season doing that, we saw how the Canadiens were able to shut them down.

  3. Pingback: Capitals look to Russia again in the NHL Entry Draft. « DMV Sports | Breaking News 24/7

  4. Pingback: Capitals look to Russia again in NHL Entry Draft. « DMV Sports by … | Breaking News 24/7

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