Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Report: Teams calling Canucks about slumping forward Andrei Kuzmenko
By Mike Gould2 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks have begun fielding calls from other teams on beleaguered winger Andrei Kuzmenko, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday evening on Hockey Night in Canada.
Kuzmenko, 27, has struggled to find a fit under the tutelage of new Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, who replaced Bruce Boudreau behind the bench midway through the 2022–23 regular season.
The Yakutsk, Russia product has just four goals and 15 points in 25 games with the Canucks this year. He finished fourth on the Canucks in 2022–23 with 74 points (39 goals, 35 assists) in 81 games.
“There’s been an emergent situation with Kuzmenko and the fact he’s played under 15 minutes in five of his last six games and he’s been sat twice,” Friedman said on Saturday. “As you can imagine, there are some conversations around him. Teams have called Vancouver saying, ‘What are you willing to do here?’ You know, the Canucks are always looking to clear cap room.”
Back in January, the Canucks signed Kuzmenko to a two-year contract extension carrying a cap hit of $5.5 million per season. His deal also includes a 12-team no-trade clause, which limits any potential trade market for the 5’11” winger.
Kuzmenko originally joined the Canucks for the 2022–23 season after emerging as a KHL star in the SKA St. Petersburg system. He now has 43 goals and 89 points in 105 career NHL games over parts of two seasons with the Canucks.
As Friedman alluded to, the Canucks are right up against the salary cap limit after acquiring defenceman Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames in November. That trade has reportedly taken the team out of the running for UFA defender Ethan Bear, who played with the Canucks last season.
Kuzmenko is one of many players on the Canucks represented by Dan Milstein, who serves as agent for many Russian NHL players. Milstein’s other Canucks clients include Ilya Mikheyev, Danila Klimovich, Kirill Kudryavtsev, and Zadorov.
The Canucks are slated to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. MT.
Recent articles from Mike Gould