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Canucks eyeing forward help ahead of trade deadline

Vancouver Canucks Patrik Allvin - The Canadian Press

The Vancouver Canucks are planning to target an upgrade to their forward group as the NHL trade deadline nears on March 8, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports.

"I had a chance to catch up with Jim Rutherford, president of hockey operations, and one of the things we touched on was the trade deadline. One of the things he said was currently what the Canucks are looking at is the idea of potentially adding a top-six forward," LeBrun said on Insider Trading. "It's worth pointing out that there's seven-and-a-half weeks before March 8 and that might change, but that was his answer when I asked about an area potentially of need.

"And I should also point out that the Canucks have been pretty busy since mid-September – general manager Patrik Allvin has added goaltender Casey DeSmith, he's added Sam Lafferty and, of course, Nikita Zadorov. But they are not done – they've got a special year going as you said, and they'd like to add again."

The Canucks improved to 28-11-3 with Thursday's overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and lead the Pacific Division with 59 points through 42 games. Vancouver is on track to reach to the postseason for the first time since 2020.

Following previous trades, the Canucks are without a second-round pick this year and moved their 2024 third-round pick in the DeSmith deal and their 2025 third-round pick to acquire Zadorov. The team also currently has less than $350,000 in cap space, according to CapFriendly.

Forward Andrei Kuzmenko, who has struggled this season with eight goals and 19 points in 36 games, was the lone Canuck listed on the updated TSN Trade Bait Board Wednesday, checking in at No. 9. Kuzmenko, 27, signed a two-year deal in the off-season carrying a cap hit of $5.5 million after posting 39 goals and 74 points in 81 games in his first season with the team. 

Winners of four straight games, the Canucks are one point back of the Winnipeg Jets for first in the league standings with one more game played. Vancouver will visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in the sixth of a seven-game road trip.