2006-07: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 52 goals with 34 assists and had 62 PIM in 36 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk U-16.
2007-08: Kuznetsov made his men’s league debut playing in two games with Traktor Chelyabinsk’s second team (in the Russian First Division (third league)) with no points or PIM. Kuznetsov missed much of the regular season but had 1 goal with 2 assists and was +5 with 6 PIM in six playoff games for Traktor’s U-17 team.
2008-09: Kuznetsov split the season between Traktor’s second men’s and U-18 teams. In 22 games in Russia’s First Division (third league), he scored five goals with 11 assists. Kuznetsov dominated at the U-18 level, scoring 28 goals with 26 assists in 23 games. In five games for Team Russia at the World U-17 Challenge, he scored 6 goals with 4 assists. Kuznetsov played for Russia at the U-18 World Junior Championships and scored 6 goals with 7 assists and was +7 with 10 PIM in seven games as Russia reached the gold medal game. Russia fell to tournament host USA, 5-0, in the final. Kuznetsov scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +2 with 10 PIM in four games at the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament for Russia.
2009-10: Kuznetsov played for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL as a 17-year-old. In limited ice time, he scored 2 goals with 7 assists and was -6 with 10 PIM. Kuznetsov was loaned to Belye Medvedi and played nine games in the Russian High League (second division). He scored 4 goals with 12 assists and was +12 with 8 PIM for Medvedi. Kuznetsov played for Russia at both the U-20 and U-18 WJC tournaments. In six games with the U-20 team in Saskatchewan, he scored 2 goals and was +1 with 10 PIM as Russia finished sixth. At the WJC U-18 tournament, Kuznetsov was the captain for Team Russia and scored 5 goals with 7 assists and was +8 with 6 PIM in seven games. He was named to the WJC All-Star Team. Russia lost to Finland, 5-1, in the bronze medal game and finished fourth. Kuznetsov signed a two-year contract extension with Traktor Chelyabinsk in May.
2010-11: Kuznetsov was the leading scorer for Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia’s KHL as an 18-year-old and tied for the points lead for gold medal-winning Russia at the 2011 U20 World Junior Championship. Kuznetsov scored 17 goals with 15 assists and was +7 with 30 PMs as Traktor finished fifth in the Kharlamov Division. In four playoff games he had 1 assist and was +1. Kuznetsov had three assists in Russia’s five-goal, third period outburst in the gold medal game against Canada and finished the junior tournament +7 with 4 goals and 7 assists; sharing the team lead in points with Vladimir Tarasenko (STL).
2011-12: Kuznetsov was again the leading scorer for Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia’s KHL while leading the Russian U20 team in scoring at the World Junior Championship for the second straight year. He scored 19 goals with 22 assists and was plus-five with 30 penalty minutes in 49 games for Traktor. Chelyabinsk reached the Eastern Conference finals after finishing first in the Kharlamov Division. Kuznetsov scored 7 goals with 2 assists and was plus-three with 10 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games. Playing for Russia at the WJC he scored 6 goals with 7 assists and was plus-six with 4 penalty minutes. Russia lost to Sweden in the gold medal game. Kuznetsov signed a two-year contract extension with Traktor in May, 2012.
2012-13: Kuznetsov led Traktor Chelyabinsk in scoring for the third straight season and represented Russia in the Europe Trophy and IIHF World Championship tournaments. He scored 19 goals with 25 assists and was -1 with 42 penalty minutes in 51 KHL games. Traktor finished second in the Kharlamov Division and reached the playoff finals against Dynamo Moscow. Kuznetsov scored 5 goals with 6 assists in 25 playoff games and was -5 with 28 penalty minutes. In nine European Trophy games he scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +1 with 8 penalty minutes. Kuznetsov had 1 goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes in three games at the World Championship as Russia finished sixth.
2013-14: Kuznetsov signed a two-year entry-level contract and made his NHL debut with the Capitals in March 2014 after skating for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL. He concluded the season by playing for the Russia men’s team in the 2014 World Championship. In 17 NHL regular season games he scored 3 goals with 6 assists and was -2 with 6 penalty minutes. An assistant captain for Traktor as a 21-year-old, he scored 8 goals with 13 assists and was -10 with 21 penalty minutes. Chelyabinsk missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in the Kharlamov Division. Kuznetsov scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes in 10 games at the World Championship. Russia captured a gold medal in the tournament, defeating Finland, 5-2, in the championship game.
Kuznetsov displays a mixture of strength and skill along with the exuberance of other young Russian players such as Evgeny Malkin. His game is still developing as he learns to defend more consistently and play a tactical game. What sets him apart from other prospects is his flawless skating, stick handling and passing. His pass receiving skills along with a fearless desire to control the puck — particularly along the boards —and to control the puck and create scoring opportunities are top notch.
Kuznetsov is in his first NHL season with the Capitals in 2014-15 and has provided glimpses of the high-end ability that had scouts excited about his arrival in North America. With several talented veteran forwards in the Washington lineup he has had to bide his time in a lower line role but has been a streak scorer for the Capitals and has steadily adapted to the demands of the NHL game. Long-term Kuznetsov has all the makings of a top-six forward in the NHL with his gifted offensive abilities and there is little reason to doubt that he will reach that level.