Bruce Boudreau was as dedicated as anyone to the Vancouver Canucks’ efforts to land KHL free agent Andrey Kuzmenko.
The Canucks’ head coach drove nearly seven hours from his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania to meet with Kuzmenko, in Ann Arbor, Michigan in mid-June.
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin also drove four and a half hours from Pittsburgh to attend the meeting, and according to Drance and Dhaliwal, the impression that Allvin and Boudreau left on Kuzmenko at that meeting — along with the upfront and honest path they laid out for him to make an impact in his first season — led to Kuzmenko deciding on Vancouver long before he came out to the city last Friday, which Dhaliwal called “a formality.”
As we reported after the meeting, the Canucks’ chances of signing Kuzmenko had only increased based on the meeting. The Kuzmenko camp absolutely loved their visit to Vancouver, where they dined at Aquilini-owned restaurants Blue Water Cafe and Elisa.
“Patrik, Bruce and Francesco played big roles at different times,” Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told Dhaliwal. “They really did a good job. Bruce has watched a lot of video on this player and knows best how to use him.”
Kuzmenko, 26, tallied 53 points through 45 games last season and finished second in the KHL scoring race.
The details of his contract will be revealed in the coming weeks, as he can’t officially sign with the Canucks until July 13th.
We broke down what the Canucks have in Kuzmenko on the latest episode of the Canucks Conversation Podcast, and gave a four-minute rundown in the video below.
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- Monday Mailbag: Jett Woo’s future, predicting Andrei Kuzmenko’s rookie NHL season, and the debut of the #MM comment section questions
- Michael Bublé on the “night and day” difference in the Canucks’ locker room after cleaning house in December
- NHL Draft: Who’s rising, who’s falling, and how it affects the Canucks at pick number 15