Despite reports that the 31-year-old forward requested a trade out of Washington last year, head coach Spencer Carbery, who was a finalist for the Predators head coaching job, recently said in a Q&A with NHL.com that Kuzntesov figures to be a key piece of the Capitals’ plans for 2023.
“I think he’s a very, very important player for our team,” Carbery said. “What he’s capable of when he’s on his game is world class and that’s my challenge to help identify parts of his game, things I can help him with, put him in positions to have success. … I think understanding and appreciating the impact that he can have on a nightly basis when he’s on his game, there’s not a lot of players that can do what he can do. I’m going to do everything I can to help him get back to that level.”
It’s not known why the proposed trade between Nashville and Washington fell through, but the Predators contingency plan (Ryan O’Reilly) seemed to work out pretty well.
Nashville has their next top-six centerman in Ryan O’Reilly.
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) July 13, 2023
Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
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Montreal Hockey Now: Polarizing Canadiens prospect Logan Mailloux has been cleared to play in the NHL.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The PHN crew debates who was the better goalie: Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur or Patrick Roy?
The Athletic: The Capitals locking forward Tom Wilson up to a seven-year, $45.5 million extension headlines the five riskiest moves of the offseason.
NHL.com: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed 30-goal forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year, $52 million contract on Tuesday.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_