According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman via "Donnie and Dhali", the Chicago Blackhawks are taking a look at trading for struggling Vancouver Canucks winger Andrei Kuzmenko.
The Canucks and the Blackhawks already have an established line of communication, dating back to their December trade involving Anthony Beauvillier and a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick. General manager Patrik Allvin executed the move in order to create more cap space, and a similar move could be at play here.
Kuzmenko, 27, is in the first year of a two-year, $11 million contract that he signed on Jan, 26. 2023, giving him a cap hit of $5.5 million. Fortunately for the Blackhawks and the Canucks, the term is palatable. The Blackhawks are interested in having veteran support players, evidenced by that earlier Beauvillier trade.
In the best-case scenario, Kuzmenko could provide Chicago with a legitimate top-six winger that they need to supplement rookie sensation Connor Bedard. Only two Blackhawks have scored double-digit goals this season, and only Bedard has eclipsed the 30-point threshold.
The Canucks have had the opposite problem, with Brock Boeser having already reached 30 goals and J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson not far behind him. Vancouver does not necessarily need a 1:1 Kuzmenko replacement on the wing, and might find themselves more interested in acquiring a center. With the Lotto Line still intact, the need for that has never been greater.
Kuzmenko himself is only sitting at eight goals on the year, tying him for 10th on the Canucks with Conor Garland. He's been surpassed by career middle-sixers like Pius Suter, Dakota Joshua, and Ilya Mikheyev in the goal department. Nils Hoglander, who has struggled to break through as a regular, and Sam Lafferty have also surpassed Kuzmenko on the Canucks' scoring chart. It remains to be seen whether the embattled Russian can rediscover himself, whether it be in Vancouver or Chicago.