Andrei Kuzmenko’s first season in North America has been a successful one as the winger enters play tonight sitting fourth on the Canucks in scoring with 11 goals and 10 assists in 22 games. He’s also set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer for the second straight year except this time, he won’t be capped on entry-level restrictions. While the two sides are eligible to work out an extension as early as January, it doesn’t appear that will be the case. Appearing on CHEK’s Donnie and Dhali (video link), Kuzmenko’s agent Dan Milstein indicated that there are no contract talks planned for the near future:
We are not going to be talking about an extension of any kind until probably the end of the season or close to that time.
While that’s the plan for now, it stands to reason that Vancouver will look to start discussions before the end of the year as if they can’t reach an agreement on a contract for next season, Kuzmenko could be a trade candidate leading up to the March 3rd trade deadline.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- Veteran center Artem Anisimov is off to a decent start with AHL Lehigh Valley with three points in his first five games with Philadelphia’s affiliate. In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that the Flyers would like to convert Anisimov’s contract to an NHL deal to add him to the roster. However, they’re currently unable to do so as they’re at the maximum 50 contracts so they’ll have to make a trade to open up a spot first unless someone claims Kieffer Bellows on waivers on Friday. Anisimov is a veteran of 771 career NHL contests and would give them someone else to try on the fourth line if they can open up a spot for him first.
- When the Canadiens acquired Sean Monahan this offseason, he seemed like a near-lock to be traded by the deadline with Montreal entrenched in a rebuild. However, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic relays that the team is now having internal discussions about the idea of trying to sign the 28-year-old to an extension instead of flipping him as an expiring deal at the deadline. Monahan has 14 points in 22 games this season while averaging over 17 minutes a night and appears to have recovered quite nicely from the hip surgeries he had in each of the past two years.
- Wild prospect Hunter Haight is on the move in the OHL as Barrie announced that they traded him to Saginaw in exchange for five draft picks. The 18-year-old was a second-round pick by Minnesota this past summer after putting up 22 goals and 41 points last season with the Colts. However, things haven’t gone as well this year as he managed just three goals and six helpers in 20 contests prior to the move. Minnesota has until June 1, 2024 to sign the center to an NHL contract.