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Report: Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko drawing increased trade interest from NHL teams ahead of deadline

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
19 days ago
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Vancouver Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko is garnering plenty of trade interest ahead of the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline.
Here’s some of what The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun had to say about the Canucks forward:
“I’m hearing that teams are calling more and more on pending UFA forward Andrei Kuzmenko… When one considers how cap-strung so many playoff-bound teams are, a player of his ability and cheap cap hit is a gift from heaven. However, I also heard Tuesday that the Canucks aren’t sure yet they want to part with him, as they haven’t given up hope on the idea of re-signing him. There haven’t yet been any contract talks on an extension between the Canucks and agent Dan Milstein, although I suspect that will happen within the next month. I would imagine the starting price from the Kuzmenko side would be at least $6 million a year on a bridge deal.”
LeBrun did also mention that Kuzmenko “seems to very much like it in Vancouver” despite the team’s struggles this season.
Kuzmenko’s $950,000 cap hit is not only a unique situation for playoff-bound teams looking to trade for his services, but it’s also a rare opportunity for the Canucks to potentially have found “free money” by flipping Kuzmenko for future assets.
The Canucks didn’t have to spend a draft pick or any assets — aside from committing to a low cap hit — in order to add Kuzmenko to their team this past offseason, and a trade for “free” assets like draft picks or prospects certainly seems tempting, given where the team is at right now.
Kuzmenko should have even more value given the NHL’s flat-cap environment, as he’ll almost certainly be the lowest-paid 20-goal scorer available on the trade market by the time the deadline rolls around.
The Canucks and Milstein have been patient and are waiting for a large enough sample size before initiating talks of an extension, and as LeBrun states, those talks should begin in the month leading up to the trade deadline.

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