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Kuznetsov re-signs with Capitals for two years

NHL.com @NHL

The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million contract, general manager Brian MacLellan announced Monday.

Kuznetsov, who became a restricted free agent July 1, had 37 points (11 goals) in 80 games with the Capitals in 2014-15, his first full season in the NHL. In 14 games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had seven points (five goals), and his 42 shots on goal were second on the Capitals to Alex Ovechkin's 61.

Kuznetsov, 23, scored the game-winning goal against the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round; he had two goals and an assist in Game 5 after being held without a point the first four games of the series.

Washington drafted Kuznetsov in the first round (No. 26) at the 2010 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut March 10, 2014, after remaining with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League for four seasons after the Capitals selected him; he had three goals and six assists in 17 games in 2013-14.

Washington signed forward Justin Williams to a two-year, $6.5 million contract and acquired center T.J. Oshie in a trade with the St. Louis Blues last week.

MacLellan expects the addition of Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, will benefit Kuznetsov.

"I think he'll have a big effect on Kuznetsov and [Andre] Burakovsky, and I also think he'll have a good effect on Ovi and [Nicklas] Backstrom," MacLellan said July 2. "It's good to have a guy that has won Cups and been through the wars as he has. He's won three Cups, so I think he'll have a big influence on our forward group."

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and forward Marcus Johansson, each a restricted free agent, filed for salary arbitration Sunday. Holtby, 25, was 41-20-10 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and nine shutouts last season, and Johansson had 20 goals and 27 assists.

Holby's agent told The Washington Post he expects the 25-year-old goalie will sign a long-term contract with the Capitals this summer.

Washington is approximately $11.4 million under the NHL's $71.4 million salary cap for the 2015-16 season after the Kuznetsov signing, according to war-on-ice.com.

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