The Canucks have been heavily linked to the the 26-year-old KHL star for months. Kuzmenko himself confirmed that he chosen to sign with Vancouver on his Instagram page.
Vancouver was one of the many teams that were interested in Kuzmenko. Other teams that were interested included the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, and Nashville Predators.
Kuzmenko visited Vancouver this past week and it was the last stop of his NHL city tour. It turns out, he and his camp were impressed. It looked like Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin and head coach Bruce Boudreau really impressed him with a earlier meeting in Michigan.
As for the contract, the terms have not been confirmed yet. His agent Dan Milstein says that will be worked out soon.
According to PuckPedia, Kuzmenko must sign a one-year entry level contract. Here is what the maximum details he can sign for.
“Andrei felt right about Vancouver,” said Milstein per Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV. “He had a good connection with Canucks management especially the GM. He is excited about joining Vancouver, the contract will get done over the next few days.”
Kuzmenko has spent the last four seasons with SKA St. Petersburg. There, he played three seasons with Vasily Podkolzin.
This past season, Kuzmenko managed 20 goals and 33 assists in 47 games. In 16 playoff games, he got seven goals and seven assists.
Kuzmenko is a 5’11”, 194 pound, right-handed left winger. DobberProspects describes the Russian as “an elite-level skater with tremendous playmaking ability a true fantasy boom-or-bust.”
The big question now is: Can Kuzmenko translate his game from the KHL to the NHL? He is expected to play in the Canucks top-six next season.
Apparently, Kuzmenko will be just the 19th Russian player to play for the Canucks.
Update at 2PM: The team made it official.
“I have been watching Andrei since his 2014.15 season and have been impressed with his development and improvement on the ice,” said Allvin in the press release. “Once the contract details are finalized, we look forward to welcoming him to the Canucks organization and helping him continue to grow as a hockey player.”
Kuzmenko is eligible to sign on July 13.
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