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Flames’ Conroy Wants Kuzmenko, Kuzmenko Needs to Be Wanted

The Vancouver Canucks get Elias Lindholm, a good hockey player. That said, why is there a chance the Calgary Flames made a steal of a deal?

On one side, you’ve got Elias Lindholm, who is a good, honest hockey player. He scored 42 goals two seasons ago, and he isn’t yet 30 years of age. When he went to the Vancouver Canucks, the Canucks knew exactly what they were getting. On the other, Andrei Kuzmenko is a different kettle of fish. He’s had one stellar season, scoring 39 goals. And this season – with a new coach – he was languishing. Often a healthy scratch. What he brings to the Flames is not yet known.

Flames general manager (GM) Craig Conroy was up against a rock and a hard spot. Lindholm has made it clear he was iffy about re-signing with the Flames in the offseason. It would seem from what Conroy intimated that Lindholm had not changed his mind and would be on his way after the season.

That said, for as good as Lindholm might be, Kuzmenko could be far better. He could, I suppose, also be a dud. But it was worth a shot for a team that had nowhere to go with their own player except to watch him walk.

Related: Two Flames Players Claimed Off of NHL Waivers

No one knows until the dust settles. However, I believe that the Flames might have made a huge deal in a positive sense. They have the potential to leverage this have-to-do-it trade into something exciting.

Why Did Kuzmenko Waive His No Trade Clause?

The Flames GM shared insights on the strategic move to acquire Kuzmenko during an appearance on the Jeff Marek show. Shedding light on why Kuzmenko chose to waive his no-trade clause and why the Flames pursued him, Conroy provided these valuable perspectives.

As you can see on the video, when asked the question of what convinced Kuzmenko to join Calgary, Conroy emphasized the importance of making players feel wanted. He stated, “I think players just wanna feel wanted first of all, so, you know, he was happy that the Flames were interested.”

Conroy highlighted the organization’s efforts in explaining Kuzmenko’s potential role on his new team. He expressed confidence that Kuzmenko was excited about the opportunity to play in the top six and contribute to the power play.

Conroy noted the challenge of language differences but stressed Kuzmenko’s enthusiasm for goal-scoring opportunities. He noted, “He likes to score goals, he said, so, you know, we’re going to give him an opportunity.” Conroy drew from his own experiences as an NHL player, recognizing the significance of offering players a chance to showcase their skills in favorable situations.

As a Former Player, Conroy Noted Things Can Change

Reflecting on Kuzmenko’s track record, Conroy acknowledged the standout play last season and recognized the fluctuations that can occur in a player’s career. But one thing he knew; Kuzmenko could score at the NHL level. Small sample size or not, 39 goals in a single season cannot be attributed to simply luck.

Andrei Kuzmenko Flames NHL

Despite Kuzmenko’s recent struggles, Conroy knows he has a potential scorer now. He explained the Flames’ approach: “Our job is … (creating) … an opportunity here? Are we going to be able to put him in a better situation to have success?”

The Flames GM outlined how they evaluated Kuzmenko’s potential. He emphasized the importance of being open-minded. He acknowledged the role of the coaching staff in creating chances for their players to succeed. Now the question is if the Flames can turn a talent like Kuzmenko into a solid contributor to the team.

I think that if Kuzmenko feels needed and wanted, he can produce. If so, given the Flames’ other assets that came with the Russian scorer, they have a chance to win big in this trade.

Related: Potential Upsides for Flames in the Lindholm Trade

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  1. Pingback: Flames’ Conroy Wants Kuzmenko, Kuzmenko Needs to Be Wanted Its Playoff Hockey Fantasy Hockey News – Its Playoff Hockey

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