Sportsnet 650: Jamie Dodd and Thomas Drance on if the Vancouver Canucks should consider trading winger Andrei Kuzmenko and what his value might be.
** NHLRumors.com transcription
Dodd: “When we kind of think about the broad goals of the team, maybe going into the summer, maybe beyond, two things stand out.
One of them is reallocating money from the wings, right, to center and the blueline if you can. Which is hard to do. That’s one.
And I think another one is, trying to get the types of players that fit the style of play that (Rick) Tocchet and by extension the management team that hired him, want this team to play, right?
And I think that explains why they’ve signed Ilya Mikheyev, why they acquired Anthony Beauvillier even though it added money and added players they are committed too on the wings because they think those guys have that kind of speed. North-south style of play.
Well if you’re trying to do both of those things. If you’re trying to reallocate money from the wings and also get guys who fit Tocchet’s style more, the name that pops into my head instantly that you should be willing to explore moving is Andrei Kuzmenko, right? Because yeah, I understand Conor Garland and Brock Boeser, maybe you think you could do both of it with them. They’re inefficient contracts and they don’t fit your style of play.
But at a certain point you have to be willing to give value to get value. And if Andrei Kuzmenko, if teams look at him and are actually willing to give you legitimate value back, whether it’s a third-line center, whether it’s assets you can flip for a third-line center, you have to be willing to explore that kind of thing, right? You can’t fall into the trap of, ‘well we’re in love with Andrei Kuzmenko. We’re in love with Anthony Beauvillier. You couldn’t possibly explore trading them. We only want to move Garland or Boeser.’
I’m not saying you have to trade Andrei Kuzmenko, but when we know about how Tocchet used him down the stretch, maybe about some of the questions how he fit into Tocchet’s style, and the fact that he is a good player. I want to make that clear. The reason I bring this up is cause he’s a good player on a good contract.
A good player on a good contract is the kind of thing you can trade and actually get something good back. If you’re only set on trade guys who are underperforming, you’re not going to get much back. You might have to think about trading somebody who’s good and on a good contract, and to me the name that makes a lot of sense is Andrei Kuzmenko.”
Drance: “Well, you know I agreed with you five months ago, or three months ago, but I no longer do. Because the commitment they signed him to significantly neuters his value. And I don’t mean Kuzmenko has no value, I mean that he has less trade value than he has real value to the Canucks at this moment in time, and here’s why.
At the end of the day the north-south concerns you’re bringing up, the speed concerns, and the repeatability concerns, are not unique thought pearls. They’re shared around the league and so, for the moment anyway, I think Kuzmenko would be viewed. I mean teams would love to, or there’s at least a few teams that would roll the dice and be the team holding that particular lottery ticket.
But it’s not the same as when he was on an entry-level deal and could fit on any team looking for their version of Evgenii Dadonov ahead of the deadline.
Now you’re talking about a $5.5 million commitment for a guy who, yeah, he had 75 points last season and he almost scored 40 goals, but he also road shotgun with Elias Petterson and shot the lights out from a percentage standpoint and produced at a rate that he’s never come close to matching at any other level of hockey previously in his pro career.
In the event that Kuzmenko repeats, then his contract has massive value. Today, as a guy coming off a career year, without a track record in the playoffs, without a track record of doing this year over year, and without having proven that he can drive his own line or drive offense for his own line, honestly, I don’t think he would have much trade value period because of the uncertainty in his profile.
But again, this could go one way or the other. If he repeats, then you’re talking about a massive plus for the Canucks. Like a massively efficient, super team-friendly deal.
I think that’s why I grouped him team-friendly because based on his sample of performance to this point, I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s not a fair deal. There’s a real chance he does this again. If he just repeats, then you’re looking at a steal contract. Will bump him up the list significantly. If however, he’s a 50-point guy, then you’re very much talking about Conor Garland. Then you’re talking about another fair-value contract.
So, based on the market for wingers, I just don’t think Kuzmenko at this point in time would have the sort of trade value to tip him over into the sphere you’re talking about. Which is like the valuable player for valuable futures cap dump type trade.
I don’t think he qualifies as that anymore, which is one of the reasons why prior to the deadline and despite, like you saying: ‘Hey, look. This is a good player, but…’ I thought it was probably the most prudent course of action to deal him.”