Future Watch: Evgeny Kuznetsov – Washington Capitals Rookie Hockey Cards – by Russ Cohen
In 2010 25 teams passed on Evgeny Kuznetsov in the NHL Entry Draft. Teams knew he would play in the KHL first because he told them. The Washington Capitals were fine with that and five years later he got his first taste of the NHL last season playing in 17 games getting 9 points.
This year I picked Kuznetsov as a pre-season Calder Trophy candidate. He didn’t get to be a finalist because of a slow start but he did amass 37 points and some momentum as the Caps headed into the playoffs.
In his first 10 playoff games Kuznetsov has five points and he’s been a very dangerous player against New York teams. First the Islanders and after that the Rangers.
At 22, Kuznetsov has a ton of professional experience and now that he’s getting used to playing on North American ice, watch out. At 6-3, 200 he can skate like the wind. The puck is always on his stick and he can shield the puck from defenders with his slick moves.
With Alex Ovechkin as his role model, Kuznetsov could be that third gun on the Capitals behind “The Great 8” and Nicklas Backstrom.
Kuznetsov had an outside chance to play for the Stanley Cup this year but he will soon be a future All-Star and award winner making him a top collectibles draw in this country and overseas. There are a ton of Russian hockey card collectors and Kuznetsov could be right behind his teammate and Evgeni Malkin in popularity.
To me Kuznetsov was one of the best rookies from this year’s crop. If you haven’t gotten a Kuznetsov rookie card yet, open up a box or two of any 2014-15 Upper Deck Hockey product. Kuznetsov‘s 2014-15 Upper Deck SP Game Used or 2014-15 Upper Deck Ice (his Black rookie is an insert), in particular are great cards.
Kuznetsov will be a 70-80 point guy most years when he reaches his peak. With youth on his side, Kuznetsov is a solid investment.