Though the idea of slotting Kuznetsov in alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin certainly is tantalizing, coach Adam Oates said he wants to manage Kuznetsov's minutes as he acclimates himself to the NHL.
"I think it makes sense to start him on that line no matter what quite honestly, in fairness to the other guys," Oates said. "Obviously everybody's excited to see him, but for the team he's got to earn his stripes.
"I think starting him there and let him ease into the team and the system and not put him in a situation where he might make a mistake right off the hop and get off on the wrong foot, I think it makes sense to do it that way."
There is much hype surrounding Kuznetsov, widely considered one of the top prospects in the world. With that attention comes sizable expectations.
His new teammates, however, are trying not to make too much of his arrival.
"It's not like we traded for Wayne Gretzky in his prime," left wing Jason Chimera said. "He's a young kid; you can't put too much expectations on him. It's a big learning curve coming to the NHL, so hopefully he can help out.
"He's a skilled kid, he's a really good player, but expectations have got to be downplayed because everyone thinks he's the Second Coming, so you've got to really take it easy on the kid and not put too much pressure on him. He's got to play his game, and if he does I think he'll help us out."
Here are the projected lineups for the Penguins and Capitals:
Injured: Beau Bennett (wrist/hand), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Brian Gibbons (lower body), Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand), Robert Bortuzzo (upper body), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot)
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