Fantasy Impact: Evgeni Kuznetsov to make his long-anticipated leap to the NHL.
The Capitals get: Arguably the best NHL eligible prospect not currently playing in the NHL, who may or may not be ready to compete at this level.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Kuznetsov, obviously. There is reason to be both excited and sceptical of his arrival in the NHL.
First and foremost, we don't even know when he will arrive and when he will be ready to play. How many games he plays will help decide how much of an impact he will make this season. If he can play 18 games that would be enough to be an impact player in both rotisserie and H2H formats. As that inches closer to 10 the odds of him making a significant difference dwindle.
There is an urge to believe that Kuznetsov will come over and make an impact right away. He has proven himself capable against men at both the World Championships and as his team's leading scorer in the KHL. Kuznetsov also proved himself capable on North American ice when he was the best player on the World Junior Champion Russian team that included dazzling Blues player Vladimir Tarasenko.
Unfortunately, that was a few years ago so it will take some time to adapt to North American ice. Kuznetsov is also coming off a season in which he was recovering from a knee injury struggling to produce and ultimately being left off Russia's Olympic team.
Without a training camp or much in the way of practice time it's going to be a struggle for Kuznetsov to step in and produce right away.
He also may not receive that top line billing that everyone wants for him right away. The Capitals need to push for wins right now so tinkering with their lineup isn't the right way to go. Of course, they've also been using Martin Erat on the top line of late for the exclusive purpose of showcasing him for a trade. This team is not above needless tinkering (see also: Holtby, Braden).
It would not surprise to see Kuznetsov bounce around the Washington lineup down the stretch but you should mostly expect him see third line minutes with second unit power play time.
Where he'll make the most impact is long term. He could wind up in Marcus Johansson's spot on the top line and/or top power play unit next season or centering the second line, helping to push Mikhail Grabovski down the roster.
Eventually adding a talent like this should help the productivity of the defensemen in Washington so it's a positive outlook for Mike Green and John Carlson.
Don't expect much right away. Think eight points in 18 games. Long term he has the chance to be special.
Read Kuznetsov's scouting report at Dobber Prospects.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Evgeni Kuznetsov
2. John Carlson
3. Mike Green
4. Dmitri Orlov
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Marcus Johansson
2. Mikhail Grabovski