The Capitals place Kuznetsov on waivers after approving the Player Assistance Program

The Washington Capitals have placed Yevgeny Kuznetsov on waivers, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday.

Kuznetsov was cleared to return to training while he entered the follow-up phase of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

Kuznetsov has missed 12 games since joining the program on Feb. 6. The program administrators will decide whether he will return to the game.

It is unclear why the 31-year-old forward joined the program. For confidentiality reasons, teams will not be given details of a player’s absence.

Kuznetsov, the Capitals’ leading scorer in the 2018 Stanley Cup, has endured many ups and downs since then. He has struggled on the ice this season with six goals and 17 points in 43 games.

In 2019, the NHL suspended him for three regular-season games without pay for “inappropriate conduct.” This came less than a month after he was banned from playing in Russia for four years due to a positive cocaine test.

He averaged nearly a point per game in the 2021-22 season, but then struggled again in the 2022-23 season.

– With files from Associated Press.

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