Report: If Andrei Kuzmenko signs an extension with the Canucks, it is likely a 2-year bridge deal
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber2 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks have a decision to make with their pending unrestricted free agent, Andrei Kuzmenko.
Kuzmenko currently has 21 goals and 22 assists through 46 games in his first NHL season. He has found on-ice chemistry and brings a ton of joy to fans with his bright personality and infectious smile.
It’s been reported that conversations have taken place between the Canucks and Kuzmenko’s camp about a contract extension.
“He would like to stay [in Vancouver]. Obviously, in the end, it’s business and we are going to look at the contract situation and factor it all in but I’m hopeful we can still get a deal done,” said Kuzmenko’s agent Dan Milstein when he joined Donnie and Dhali on Wednesday. “The preference is probably to do a very short bridge deal and see how things go.”
Later in the afternoon, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes threw out a number to go along with the two-year preference from the Kuzmenko camp.
Milstein commented that his relationship with the Canucks’ management group is a good one and that he hopes they can find a deal because Kuzmenko loves the city and the fanbase.
With Kuzmenko on an entry-level contract, his $950,000 salary is an easily palatable cap hit for contending teams. Kuzmenko would be able to help many teams’ power plays and has shown the ability to have success at five-on-five when playing with top-of-the-lineup players.
A guess on a return for Kuzmenko is somewhere in the realm of a second-round pick plus a prospect or a first-round pick.
The Canucks could end up signing Kuzmenko, who turns 27 at the beginning of February, but does his age fit with the Canucks’ plan to retool? That is the question.
It’s clear that Kuzmenko works well with Pettersson but the Canucks have wingers in their system who are close to the NHL (Vasily Podkolzin & Nils Höglander) as well as some high-end winger prospects in their system (Danila Klimovich & Jonathan Lekkerimäki). Trading Kuzmenko for a prospect or a pick can help address the organization’s needs on the backend or even be used to help centre depth with all signs pointing toward Bo Horvat being dealt in the next month.
As much as we love Kuzmenko’s personality, he just doesn’t fit with the current plan that the Canucks have laid out about attempting to acquire players who are under the age of 26 so that they can retool for a better team in 2-3 years.
There are surely a lot of playoff-bound teams who are looking for a player that is on pace to score 35+ goals and has a cap hit under a million dollars.
Do you think the Canucks should re-sign Kuzmenko or trade him for the best return on the open market?
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