What we’re hearing about Andrei Kuzmenko’s visit to Vancouver and second meeting with the Canucks
Photo credit:SKA St. Petersburg on Twitter
By Faber5 months ago
The ongoing story of the Vancouver Canucks potentially landing the top European free agent Andrei Kuzmenko are coming to an end very soon.
After a KHL season and playoffs that saw him put up 67 points in 61 games, Kuzmenko has been testing the waters with multiple NHL teams. He and his agent Dan Milstein have been visiting cities around North America. We know that there was a meeting in Edmonton earlier in the week and that Kuzmenko has also garnered interest from the Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, and Carolina Hurricanes.
Kuzmenko’s final stop was Vancouver, where he spent two days and had a meeting with the Canucks on Friday.
This wasn’t the first in-person meeting for Kuzmenko and the Canucks as Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali reported that general manager Patrik Allvin and head coach Bruce Boudreau met with the Russian winger in Michigan last week as well.
From what we’re hearing about how the meetings went, we believe that the chance of Kuzmenko signing and playing with the Canucks has only increased. Unfortunately for Canucks fans, we’ve all heard this before. A lot of you will likely remember the Justin Schultz sweepstakes and the excitement that Canucks fans had about potentially landing him. It’s in no way a done deal for Kuzmenko to sign with the Canucks but the comfort level if he signs in Vancouver has to be one of the highest out of the possible suitors.
Canucks GM Patrik Allvin has a long-standing relationship with Kuzmenko’s agent and Milstein spoke on the Canucks Conversation podcast about Allvin having watched and checked in on Kuzmenko over the past nine years. Bruce Boudreau also plays a big part here as we’ve seen how Vasily Podkolzin has spoke about how much he respects the Canucks’ coach and how Alex Ovechkin gave the young Russian good advice on listening to Boudreau to become a better person and player.
We have seen Kuzmenko’s production incrementally rise over his past seven seasons in the KHL and he is ready to make the jump to the NHL. It’s not just about scoring with Kuzmenko, we liked the motor that he has and how he does a great job creating offence quickly from creating turnovers in the neutral zone. There’s no guarantee that he will come in and be a star in the NHL but he does have the intangibles and the stats that lead us to believe he should definitely be an NHL-calibre player.
CanucksArmy has learned that Kuzmenko has been working very hard on his English over the past year in preparation for the move to North America. We’re told that his English is at a level where he will not require an interpreter for interviews once he lands with an NHL team. We also heard that the decision has “no timeline,” but will be made soon. We don’t believe it will be coming this week and could end up dragging into late next week.
The Canucks can offer a chance to fight for a top-six job and if Kuzmenko lives up to the hype, he could do a lot for the depth of the Canucks’ forward lines — whether that be his presence, or the presence of Podkolzin, Conor Garland, or Tanner Pearson on a third line because Kuzmenko earned a spot in the top-six.
This feels like a story that won’t go away, and the hope is that he signs with Vancouver so that we didn’t waste so much of your and our time covering this story.
It’s been a nice story to keep us all a bit busy as NHL teams are still fighting for the Stanley Cup but it would be great to what he can do in the blue and green if he actually signs with the Canucks.
Kuzmenko is expected to sign a one-year entry-level deal at $925,000 with multiple bonuses. He becomes a free agent after that contract and maybe we will be doing this all over again next summer.
We will keep you up to date with all the latest news about Kuzmenko if he ends up signing with the Canucks.
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