** Update: Kuzemnko has signed with the Canucks. It’s a two-year bridge deal worth $5.5 million per season and includes a 13-team no-trade clause as part of the extension.
This will open the door now to a Bo Horvat trade as most insiders believe there’s little room for both players on the roster with J.T Miller also signed to a long-term deal. We should be hearing news soon that the Canucks will allow other teams to talk about an extension with Horvat ahead of any possible trade.
As per NHL insider and analyst Kevin Weekes, he’s hearing the Vancouver Canucks and forward Andrei Kuzmenko might be on the verge of signing an extension. The deal is not said to be long-term, although, as Weekes points out, that could always change.
He tweeted on Wednesday, “I’m told per Van F Kuzmenko’s Camp, they’ve had discussions on Contract Extension, no urgency, but on a potential bridge deal, it could land on 2Yr 5-6M AAV. The situation remains fluid.”
This would be a good deal for the Canucks if they could get Kuzmenko to stick around for another two seasons at around $5 million per. There was talk that it could take that kind of money (or more) on a long-term deal to avoid having Kuzmenko test free agency this summer. At the same time, a bridge deal allows the forward another one or two seasons to further establish his talent in the NHL. If and when he does, he could make himself a $10 million-plus player. It also allows the Canucks an opportunity to know with certainty what they have in Kuzmenko before dishing out huge money on a contract they can’t trade.
He signed a one-year contract and if the Canucks couldn’t get something done, there was a chance he might be put up with a number of other names out of Vancouver ahead of this season’s trade deadline.
Kuzmenko has had a great season. He’s got 21 goals and 43 points in 46 games this season and he’s doing all of this on a cap hit of $950K. While he’s already 26 years old, he’s being seen as a big part of the future in Vancouver, one of the few team members the organization would like to build around. Dan Milstein talked recently about how talks were going and noted, “We will chip away and hopefully get this done very soon..” He added, “Andrei absolutely loves Vancouver and the fans, it is my job to try and work out a deal, I am hopeful we can get something done.”
Canucks Still Want to Win
Rick Dhaliwal recently suggested the Canucks can’t keep both Bo Horvat and Kuzmenko. If Horvat is likely a player the team is moving on from, signing Kuzmenko is of paramount importance. Rick Tocchet just signed on as a new coach and he wants to coach a competitive team. It’s why there’s talk the Canucks are asking for competitive players back in any deal.
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