The Andrei Kuzmenko sweepstakes are over.
The free-agent Russian forward has chosen to sign with the Vancouver Canucks. CanucksArmy’s David Quadrelli was first to report the news.
The Oilers were believed to be in the running for the 26-year-old right-winger. Given that he has to sign an entry-level deal, the maximum salary offered could only have been $925,000, meaning he would’ve been an affordable option for the Oilers.
In looking for an NHL opportunity, Kuzmenko was in search of both top-six minutes and time on the powerplay, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported.
Given that, there’s no surprise the Oilers bowed out of the running. Kuzmenko is coming off the best year of his career where he scored 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games.
Despite the production there’s no way that A) the Oilers could guarantee him top-six minutes, nor B) time on the powerplay. Even as it stands right now there’s little reason to believe he would fit there for the Oilers.
While adding an inexpensive free agent with some offensive upside, I don’t forsee this being a thing where the Oilers really lose out in any sense of the term. We’ve seen it time and time again where a Russian comes over to North America and their game is unable to flourish.
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 protected]