MOSCOW, September 2 (R-Sport) – Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov told R-Sport on Monday he is yearning to leave Russia for the NHL to avoid stagnating as a player.
Last week, the 21-year-old said this season would be his last the with his hometown team Traktor Chelyabinsk, before he moves overseas to join Capitals, who drafted him 26th overall in 2010.
“If I don’t leave, I might stop developing as a player,” Kuznetsov said. “I still need to learn a lot and I understand that if I don’t go there now, then it would be difficult to leave.”
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound forward added he had mixed feelings about leaving his home city, where he has played since the age of six.
“Sometimes I watch NHL games and I really want to go there, but in other moments I don’t want to leave,” Kuznetsov said. “Anyway, in my head, I'm already preparing myself for this move. In essence, it is more about me needing to go than wanting to.”
In four KHL seasons, Kuznetsov has 57 goals and 68 assists for 125 points in 179 games. He was an all-star in 2011-12 and 2012-13.