Snapshots: Kuzmenko, Boudreau, Price
While the IIHF recently announced an additional sanction against hockey in Russia and the NHL severed ties with the KHL, Russian players are still allowed to sign as free agents with NHL clubs. As the KHL season draws to a close, KHL free agents looking to cross the Atlantic and sign with an NHL team are under scrutiny. Perhaps the most attention has been paid to Andrei Kuzmenko, who is expected to become a free agent on May 1. Kuzmenko, 26, has 53 points in 45 games this KHL campaign, as well as 14 points in 16 playoff games. Kuzmenko’s offensive profile appeals to many NHL teams, and since he’s only 26, it’s not unreasonable to think he has room to grow.
Like many KHL free agents who came before him, Kuzmenko should have a competitive market when he and his representatives choose to enter negotiations. About TSN’s Insider Trading Program, TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported that next week Kuzmenko will begin the interview process with NHL teams. Johnston reports that 20 NHL teams are believed to be contacting Kuzmenko with at least “some degree of interest.” Regarding factors that may play into Kuzmenko’s decision-making process, Johnston says that Kuzmenko “wants to go somewhere where he can play, where he will have a role”, and that the market and the city in which a team plays are less important factor. That should definitely make the competition to secure Kuzmenko’s services a little more open, and given that it only costs one signing team cap space and no assets to acquire, there’s likely to be plenty of bases to fans across the NHL hoping their team can be the one to land this intriguing KHL veteran.
Now some more snapshots from around the NHL:
- Although Bruce Boudreau’s contract situation has been a major topic over the past few months, it seems fears of a potential off-season departure for the 67-year-old Canucks skipper can all but be dismissed. In an interview along with CHEK’s Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provided an update on Boudreau’s status. In his interview, Friedman said Boudreau would return to coach Vancouver “if everyone is reasonable.” Friedman believes that as long as neither side is “ridiculous,” as he calls it, then there should be no real problem getting a deal on Boudreau’s return. Canucks players and fans have responded extremely well to Boudreau’s coaching, and since his arrival in Vancouver, the Canucks have been among the toughest teams to beat in the NHL. So, while there were once fears of an off-season divorce for Boudreau and the Canucks, now it appears there is very little chance those fears will come to pass.
- Carey Award made his return to the Montreal Canadiens, but that doesn’t mean his future is any more certain. In another remark of TSN’s Insider Trading program, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun provided an update on Price’s status. LeBrun reports that Price “wants to play next season” as a number one priority for him, but to do that he needs to be healthy in the injured knee that has cost him so many games this season. According to LeBrun, no certainty that Price’s knee can do it. Lebrun doesn’t make very pessimistic predictions about Price’s health, but he does say there’s “a bit of uncertainty” about Price’s health situation that could complicate not only his future, but that of the Canadiens as well. .