The world has modified fairly a bit since Andrei Kuzmenko’s identify surfaced in November as a participant that was drawing curiosity from NHL groups. Given his place within the KHL and Russia’s actions within the invasion of Ukraine, it wasn’t in any respect clear whether or not groups would nonetheless pursue the soon-to-be free agent. On Thursday evening’s “Insider Trading,” Chris Johnston cleared that up.

“I think what’s interesting is that even with the situation with Russia having invaded Ukraine, it doesn’t seem to have scared teams off at this point. And his contract in Russia runs through April 30. So as of May 1, he’s available to sign an NHL deal.”

Kuzmenko, 26, had a superb common season within the KHL this 12 months, scoring 53 factors in 45 video games, and he has carried that play proper over into the postseason. Through 12 playoff video games with SKA St. Petersburg, the dynamic ahead has seven objectives and 13 factors, main the group to the Conference Finals. Importantly, SKA is definitely down 2-1 of their sequence in opposition to CSKA, which means they may very well be eradicated within the coming days. If that occurs, Kuzmenko can have loads of time to speak to NHL golf equipment earlier than his contract formally expires on the finish of the month.

Johnston notes {that a} deal isn’t “cooked” but, which means there isn’t an settlement in place at this level. The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks have confirmed curiosity, however in 2018, the final time Kuzmenko was discussing contracts within the NHL, his agent mentioned 24 groups reached out. If it’s wherever close to that many this time round, he’ll have fairly a couple of choices to select from.

To be clear, Kuzmenko wouldn’t be eligible for this 12 months’s playoffs, even when he joins a group nonetheless concerned. Because he’s not on any group’s reserve listing as an undrafted participant, he would have needed to signal a contract earlier than the commerce deadline to assist them on this postseason.

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