The Vancouver Canucks were able to officially announce the signing of Russian free agent Andrey Kuzmenko on Wednesday. He signed his entry-level contract with a cap hit of $950,000 and will be able to earn a total of $850,000 in bonuses.
Kuzmenko is coming off a KHL season where he scored 20 goals and added 33 assists in 45 games with SKA. He has a lot of skills that should shine in the offensive zone and his play behind the net on a power play provides a new look that could very easily be dropped right into one of the Canucks’ power play units.
There are plenty of options on the wing with the addition of Ilya Mikheyev, re-signing of Brock Boeser, and having players like Vasily Podkolzin, Conor Garland, and Tanner Pearson. We could see Kuzmenko play on a line with Elias Pettersson or J.T. Miller and be put into a position where his scoring is relied upon to be a driving force of what helps the Canucks get to the playoffs.
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If Kuzmenko finds a spot in the Canucks’ top-six and is given power play time — as we expect — he would be able to get a real shot of hitting the maximum bonuses that he has inside of his contract.
Sources close to the situation have confirmed the bonus structure of Kuzmenko’s contract to CanucksArmy.
Kuzmenko has “schedule A” bonuses on his one-year deal where he can make $212,500 for each of the bonuses he hits. He can max out at $850,000 total for his bonuses and these are the eight potential bonuses that he can hit.
  • Ice Time (aggregate or per game) 
    The player must be among the top six forwards on the club with a minimum of 42 regular season games played. An ELC may contain a provision for both aggregate and per-game ice time; however, the maximum a player may earn for an ice time bonus is $212,500.
  • Goals
    If the player scores 20 goals.
  • Assists
    If the player gets 35 assists.
  • Points
    If the player has 60 points.
  • Points per game (minimum of 42 games played)
    If the player puts up 0.73 points per game, this is the equivalent of scoring 60 points over an 82 game season.
  • Plus-Minus (minimum of 42 games played)
    The player needs to be among the top three forwards on the club in plus-minus.
  • All-Star Game
    The player must be selected to the NHL All-Star game.
  • All-Star Game MVP
    The player must be selected as the NHL All-Star game MVP.
Typically, players on ELCs can also earn a bonus for being selected to the all-rookie team of the NHL but since Kuzmenko is currently 26 years old, he is not eligible to be on the rookie team or qualify for the Calder trophy. To be considered a rookie, a player who is at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie. Last season, Michael Bunting of the Toronto Maple Leafs qualified as a rookie as he turned 26 on September 17th — he was eligible to be a rookie by two days.
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It wouldn’t come as a shocker if Kuzmenko can max out his bonuses this season but it’s not necessarily expected. If he ends up being a 60 point player, that is a big win for the Canucks who are only paying him $950,000 as a base salary. If the club gets 60 points from Kuzmenko, they would certainly have no problem paying him the total of $1,800,000 that he will have earned in every sense of the word.
Kuzmenko is set to travel back to Vancouver sometime in August and will definitely be an interesting player to key in on during training camp this fall. His bonuses have an option to go on this season’s cap if the team has space but due to the long-term injury reserve money situation, it’s more likely that the bonus money would be sent over to the 2023-24 season’s cap hit.
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We will keep an eye on Kuzmenko’s bonuses as the season goes on but if he can max out his bonuses, it will be more valuable than the maximum of $850,000 that the Canucks will have to pay him on top of his $950,000 base salary.
We did a full Canucks free agency breakdown live from Rogers Arena in the YouTube video below!