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Capitals waive former star center Evgeny Kuznetsov

Jan 27, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals placed former star center Evgeny Kuznetsov on waivers, just hours after he was cleared to resume practice after missing 12 games while in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program, general manager Brian MacLellan announced Saturday.

“He’s been looking for a change in environment, and this might set the wheels in motion for that to be accomplished,” MacLellan told reporters Saturday.

Kuznetsov has one full season remaining on an eight-year contract worth $7.8 million per year. If he clears waivers, the Capitals could reassign him to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears.

Earlier Saturday morning, the NHL announced that Kuznetsov had entered the follow-up care phase of the assistance program and was eligible to practice, though not yet cleared to return to game action.

The program was developed to help players and their families with struggles pertaining to mental health, substance abuse and related issues. Details of what led Kuznetsov to enter the program have not been revealed.

Kuznetsov, 31, has played his entire 11-year NHL career in Washington since the Capitals made the Russia native a first-round pick (No. 26 overall) in the 2010 draft. Frequently centering Washington’s top line that stars Alex Ovechkin, Kuznetsov has tallied 568 points (171 goals, 397 assists) in 723 career games.

Kuznetsov has just 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 43 games this season.

–Field Level Media

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