TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noted during the most recent TSN Insider Trading segment that the Vancouver Canucks are trying to sign pending unrestricted free agent forward Andrei Kuzmenko. What’s so interesting about this, is that the Canucks are reportedly also taking calls on the forward regarding a trade ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. LeBrun has noted that Kuzmenko could earn as much as $6 million per season on a bridge contract, but if things get more expensive than that or a team comes forward with an offer that is too good to pass up, the Canucks might make a move.
Kuzmenko was signed to a one-year deal out of the KHL. He’s been absolutely fantastic for the Canucks since joining the club and has 17 goals and 35 points in 39 games. He’s on a great contract at $950K and he’s reportedly quite happy playing in Vancouver. At the same time, he’s got no trade protection in his deal and he’s arguably one of the most attractive trade rental options available, should the retooling Canucks be open to moving him.
There’s still time, but the Canucks are on the outside of the playoff picture. There’s been a lot of talk about what the future of some of their best players holds and Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, and others could be moved in separate deals, potentially setting up the need for a rebuild. The Canucks would love retain Kuzmenko and make him part of the core their team builds around, but he is already 26, he can leave during the summer for free, and the return the Canucks would get in terms of draft picks and prospects would be sizeable.
No Contract Talks Between Canucks and Kuzmenko Yet
LeBrun noted during the segment, “There haven’t been any contract negotiations, although the expectation is that should happen within the month here…” He adds, “but what’s interesting of course is that teams are calling. Why wouldn’t they be? He’s got a cheap cap hit. He adds:
“Teams that are going for it, that are a contender, have almost no cap room – he would fit the bill both in terms of what he can do offensively and the fact he doesn’t take up a lot of room on the cap. But for now, the Canucks aren’t even sure they want to move him. They want to try and see if they can sign him. I think the price starts at at least $6 million per year on a bridge deal for Kuzmenko to stay in Vancouver, where by all accounts he is quite happy.”
Next: J.T. Miller’s Actions Providing Unnecessary Distraction for Canucks
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