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Capitals sign 2010 1st-round pick Kuznetsov

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm •  Published: March 8, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — It took the Washington Capitals nearly four years to sign Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov. When they finally did on Saturday, general manager George McPhee compared the new forward to a mythical creature.

"It's kind of like seeing the Loch Ness Monster when he walked in," McPhee said. "We've heard you, but we haven't seen you. And there he was. I found it hard to believe he was standing there after all this."

Kuznetsov. selected in the first round — 26th overall — in the 2010 NHL draft, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger who spent the last four years playing for his hometown team, Chelyabinsk Traktor of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Kuznetsov led the team in scoring each season from 2010-13 and made the 2012 KHL All-Star team.

He now joins the struggling Capitals (29-25-10), who have lost three straight and are three points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Kuznetsov didn't play in Saturday night's home game against Phoenix.

McPhee said he expects Kuznetsov to make his NHL debut on Monday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kuznetsov has signed a deal for this season and next. McPhee said he wouldn't discuss terms of the contract until early next week.

"When we first drafted him, I really thought that he could play with us, if not right away, within a year," McPhee said. "I told him that and he mentioned at that time that he thought he needed two years in the KHL."

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