STOCKHOLM, May 9 (RIA Novosti)
The president of the KHL hockey league told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that starlet Evgeny Kuznetsov was right to snub the Washington Capitals and sign a two-year extension with Traktor Chelyabinsk.
Kuznetsov, 20, was the Capitals' No. 1 draft pick in 2010, when he captained the Russian junior team to world championship gold.
His KHL contract had been due to expire in the summer, but Kuznetsov said he would not take up a non-negotiable $1 million deal in Washington join his countryman Alex Ovechkin.
"Evgeny took a correct, weighted decision," KHL president Alexander Medvedev said. "He'll play in the KHL up until the [2014 Sochi Winter] Olympics, and this will help him grow as a player."
Medvedev said Kuznetsov's decision had served as an example to others, and that players "should think about a move only when they won't fling you out of the main team to a farm club and back."
"In Russia he'll have a good contract and be in a good position."
The KHL provided a more fertile environment than the NHL for Kuznetsov to develop, Medvedev said.
"In the KHL the possibilities for growth are no fewer than in the NHL. We have a different game, maybe in some ways more varied. Play in the NHL for some people may be more entertaining, but it's not by accident that people complain there are fewer stars, less improvisation," he said.
Kuznetsov is with the Russian national team participating in the hockey world championships, where his team has won its first three games to go top of Group B with co-host Sweden.
With Traktor, Kuznetsov averaged close to a point a game, with 19 goals and 21 assists in 49 matches to help his team to the Continental Cup as regular season champions.
Traktor lost the Eastern Conference final series Friday to Siberian rivals Avangard Omsk, which went on to lose the Gagarin Cup final to Dynamo Moscow.
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