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Rick Tocchet Clearly Hates Andrei Kuzmenko

Andrei Kuzmenko
Rick Tocchet clearly hates Andrei Kuzmenko and may have killed his fantasy hockey value in the process. What should fantasy mangers do? (Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)

Rick Tocchet Clearly Hates Andrei Kuzmenko

To give you a peek behind the curtain, Griff and I made a trade in the Vendetta fantasy hockey league. I sent him Dawson Mercer and I received Andrei Kuzmenko. It’s pretty easy to see why Griff wanted off the Kuzmenko fantasy hockey island. His coach Rick Tocchet clearly hates him.

Kuzmenko, 27, was a point machine during his inaugural season at the NHL level. The Russian forward pocketed 39 goals and 74 total points. Still, Kuzmenko felt like a difficult player to project in terms of fantasy heading into this season. Was it going to be more of the same? Was he going to vibe with Tocchet? We know now that the answer to that question was a resounding no.

Kuzmenko is either being scratched or relegated to fourth-line duties. Kuzmenko is basically a powerplay specialist while being hidden as much as possible. Frankly, it’s not because of his offense. It has everything to do with Tocchet not liking the other parts of his game.

Fantasy managers are in a real pickle here. It sure sounds like the Canucks are trying to find a trade partner. The only problem is he’s already under contract next year and they don’t exactly have the most leverage in the world.

Do fantasy managers hope for a trade, pray that Kuzmenko regains Tocchet’s trust, or cut bait entirely? The part probably depends on your league circumstances. Can you afford to wait out the storm or do you need wins right now? We’ve seen the offensive upside in the past and being part of the Canucks PP unit is a fantastic thing. It’s just hard to trust that Kuzmenko is going to recapture that fantasy magic again in Vancouver. Time will tell but maybe it’s just not going to happen with Tocchet behind the bench.

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