Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
NHL Notebook: Vancouver Canucks scratch Andrei Kuzmenko for fourth time, as Red Wings’ Klim Kostin lands on injured reserve
By Zach Laing2 months ago
After a darling rookie season with the Vancouver Canucks, things have come crashing down around Andrei Kuzmenko.
The 27-year-old Russian winger who sluffed off offers to join the Oilers had a great first campaign out west last year, scoring 39 goals and 74 points while shooting at an astronomical 27.3 percent. He played top-line and on the top power play alongside Elias Pettersson, driving play at an excellent rate. While he was afforded the same opportunities this season, he’s been far from being able to replicate his production.
It’s landed him in hot water with Canucks bench boss Rick Tocchett, and on Tuesday night, Kuzmenko will be a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season, as his club hits the road against the Nashville Predators.
“Just trying to win a game tonight and I felt this was the best lineup. We’ll re-evaluate (for) the Dallas game,” Tocchet explained, as transcribed on Twitter by Canucks Conversation’s Harman Dayal.
Kuzmenko has appeared in 29 games so far this season scoring just six goals and 17 points. After inking a one-year entry-level deal in July 2022, Kuzmenko re-signed with the Canucks in January, putting pen to paper on a two-year extension worth $5.5-million.
And while his ability to drive play both offensively and defensively at a first-line rate has remained, as noted by hockeyviz.com, the production hasn’t followed. What’s noticeable, too, is his power play contributions have dried up significantly.
Given the drastic falloff and seemingly cracking relationship with the club, one has to wonder if the Canucks would consider moving him ahead of this years trade deadline. He was coveted as a free agent just 16 months ago, and his current contract carries a 12-team no-trade list, which would complicate the matter.
The ongoing drama around Kuzmenko and the Canucks come all the while the team holds a 21-9-2 record, and second spot in the NHL’s Pacific Division.
THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Kostin lands on injured reserve
The Detroit Red Wings placed winger Klim Kostin on the injured reserve Tuesday.
It came after Kostin left a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Monday with an upper-body injury, having played 6:30 of ice time, taking two shots on goal, and landing in the penalty box.
The 24-year-old, in his first season with the Red Wings, has appeared in 23 games for the team this season, a noticeable drop in production after scoring 11 goals and 21 points in 57 games last season with the Edmonton Oilers.
And when Kostin hit unrestricted free agency, his salary ask from the Oilers was too high, prompting Edmonton to trade him and Kailer Yamamoto to the Red Wings for future considerations. Kostin signed a two-year, $2-million AAV deal, while Yamamoto went on to sign with the Seattle Kraken.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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