After a breakout season in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg, it appears there will be a long list of North American clubs looking to speak to Andrei Kuzmenko as his deal in Russia expires.
TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported Tuesday on Insider Trading that more than half of teams in the NHL plan to reach out to the 26-year-old winger.
"He’s ready to start having those conversations next week with NHL teams, and it’s thought that there will be 20 teams that will at least reach out with some degree of interest," Johnston said. "He and his agent Dan Milstein will work through the options, try to whittle it down to maybe five or six, have follow-up conversations and eventually make a final decision.
"Kuzmenko was a point-per-game scorer in the KHL. Obviously, there is that tremendous amount of interest and the one thing that he’s looking for? He wants to go somewhere he can play, where he’s going to have a role. He’s not fixated so much on a particular city."
Kuzmenko posted a career-high 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games this season. He kept up his point-per-game pace in the playoffs with seven goals and seven assists in 14 playoff games.
A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko was never drafted. He played for Russia at the 2016 World Juniors, going without a point in seven games.
He has spent the past eight seasons in the KHL and has been with SKA St. Petersburg since making the move from CSKA Moscow in 2018.