As the KHL playoffs continue in Europe, NHL interest appears to be building in SKA St. Petersburg forward Andrei Kuzmenko.
TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston told Gino Reda on Insider Trading Thursday that multiple teams are looking to sign the 26-year-old after he becomes a free agent next month.
"Well especially in Andrei Kuzmenko, Gino and he’s a player that’s still involved in the playoffs with SKA St. Petersburg in the third round. So his focus might not be on the NHL just yet but there’s certainly a lot of teams from this side of the pond that are keeping an eye on him," Johnston said. "He had over a point per game this year in the KHL.
"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. Unlike some other Russian free agents, I don’t think this one is cooked. I do believe once his season gets done, he’s willing to talk to multiple teams, consider his options, and pick someone from there."
Kuzmenko posted a career-high 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games this season. He's added seven goals and 13 points in 12 playoff games so far.
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.