The Hawks need to surround Connor Bedard with high-end talent.
The Hawks desperately need better offensive talent that can keep up with Bedard. Taylor Hall was supposed to take some pressure off Bedard and help him produce points but that plan went out the window when Hall went down with a season-ending knee injury in November. Lukas Reichel, Nick Foligno, and others coach Luke Richardon has tried on Bedard’s wing haven’t been able to move the needle. Bedard has performed phenomenally this season, leading the Hawks and all rookies in scoring, but he can’t be expected to carry the entire offense on his back again when he returns from his fractured jaw.
Despite his struggles this season, Kuzmenko is a proven scorer. He averaged 0.63 points per game in his 315 game KHL career, including 1.18 PPG in his final year. With more opportunity in Chicago, Kuzmenko can produce like a legitimate top-liner on Bedard’s flank.
Kuzmenko would be cheap to acquire.
Kuzmenko’s subpar play and expensive cap hit will scare off potential suitors. This works to the Hawks advantage as they have the cap space to afford him and plenty of draft capital. Davidson does not want to give up prime assets to acquire players for the short-term, but Kuzmenko would come cheap, and, even if he doesn’t stick around beyond next season, the positive impact he would have on Bedard would be worth the price to acquire him.