The Canucks Are Trying To Extend Andrei Kuzmenko And Why It Makes Zero Sense
I’m not sure Jim Rutherford understands what a rebuild means. On one hand, Rutherford says the Canucks roster needs ‘major surgery’. On the other, he’s trying to extend winger Andrei Kuzmenko. The Canucks won the bidding for Kuzmenko this past offseason adding the KHL winger to a one year deal in July.
Kuzmenko, 26, is scheduled to become a free agent again after the conclusion of this season. The Russian import has been a great add for the Canucks. Kuzmenko is currently sporting a +8 rating on a bad Canucks team notching 39 points in 43 games. Kuzmenko isn’t exactly a driving force with the puck but it slings it across the ice well and carries some finishing ability. There’s no question he’s been a positive influence despite the team’s poor record (18-23-3).
Vancouver has already given up trying to re-sign Bo Horvat. It’s not a team that has an endless supply of cap space. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, and Tyler Myers are all signed to bloated deals. Why potentially put yourself in that situation again with Kuzmenko who has undoubtedly earned a raise.
We don’t totally know what Kuzmenko is yet. Taking a flier on Kuzmenko while he’s limited to an early entry contract is a no brainer. What’s he worth on an actual free agent contract at the end of the year? Not a super big sample size to hand out that kind of commitment.
I say all that to say this. Isn’t the point of rebuilding to trade an asset at peak value so you can live to fight another day? While operating a Vancouver team that isn’t going to make the playoffs, why wouldn’t Rutherford try to trade Kuzmenko to a contender for a real return? Trading Kuzmenko also wouldn’t prohibit them from being the top bidder in free agency so why not cash in on the asset?
The Canucks are such a mess. The Andrei Kuzmenko may have epitomized the whole thing. Let’s do major surgery on the roster while also trying to extend the same guy on the team. It doesn’t make any sense. Welcome to the Canucks. Are you enjoying your stay?