It Still Would Have Been Nice if the Chicago Blackhawks Acquired Andrei Kuzmenko Instead of the Calgary Flames

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Before the NHL trade deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks were rumored to be a landing spot for Andrei Kuzmenko.

The talented winger had fallen out of favor in Vancouver and the Canucks were looking to move him. The Blackhawks seemed like a natural fit as Chicago desperately needed a talented goal-scorer to skate with Connor Bedard. Also, they just needed scoring in general as Bedard was on injured reserve for practically all of January. Plus, he was still relatively young at 28 with a cap hit that could help the Hawks get to the cap floor next season.

Alas, a trade never came to fruition. Instead, Kuzmenko was traded to the Calgary Flames as part of the return in the Elias Lindholm deal.

Kuzmenko has scored five goals and registered three assists since going to Calgary on January 31st. You may think that is not a ton of production, but considering he had just eight goals before being traded, and you can see he has made an impact.

“The shot attempts. He’s trying to shoot the puck, whether or not they go in,” coach Ryan Huska said. “It’s a real positive for us and for him when they do, but when he’s shooting the puck, things happen. It was a good night for him, a step in the right direction.”

Kuzmenko scored three goals for the Flames over his first six games during 11 days in early February. The Hawks scored seven goals total during that same period.

Now Kuzmenko has been on a six-game scoreless streak, but he is also still trying to find his place in Calgary. He is currently skating on the third line for the Flames. What he does provide is that game-breaking talent that the Flames do not have on their roster.

It is not like the Hawks have a lot of those players either. Also, there has been a revolving door at the left wing on the top line next to Bedard and Philipp Kurashev. Having Kuzmenko skating with those two probably would have solidified that.

Kuzmenko is never going to be a great defensive winger. Scoring is his calling card as he showed last season with 39 goals. He is willing to put the puck on the net and that is something the Hawks need in the simple offensive system they are running right now. Kuzmenko has a 51.7% shot-through percentage and a 16.7% shooting percentage with Calgary over 18 games.

The Hawks team's shooting percentage is just 8.1% and Kuzmenko would rank second on the team if he was on the Hawks with his shooting percentage over the last 18 games. His shot-through percentage with Calgary is better than what Bedard has had this season.

The problem is the Flames needed to get a good return for Lindholm and Kuzmenko was an attractive trade piece that Vancouver had. Oh well, the Hawks still have plenty of talented prospects who are younger and cheaper than Kuzmenko anyways.

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