Barn Burner: What do the Calgary Flames do with Andrei Kuzmenko (featuring Jamie McLennan)

Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Mackenzie
1 month ago
On Wednesday’s episode of Barn Burner, Boomer, Pinder, and Rhett had TSN’s Jamie McLennan on the show to discuss the recent hot streak Andrei Kuzmenko has been on, and what Flames management should do with him in the coming seasons.
Kuzmenko, whose contract expires at the end of the 2024-25 campaign, has been rolling as of late, picking up 6 points over his last 3 games with 4 of those points coming via finding the back of the net. He put an exclamation mark on his recent run of good play with an electrifying goal in Tuesday evenings match-up against the Anaheim Ducks:
In the segment, Pinder presented a discussion of whether the Flames should take a longer look at Kuzmenko by way of an extension, or should they turn flip him before he reaches free agency after next season.
“What do you do with Andrei Kuzmenko?” asked Pinder “He’s clearly an electric offensive talent. There’s clearly a lot of wanting from him on the defensive side, hence him falling out of favour in Vancouver. He’ll be 30 when his new deal kicks in. Is this a guy that Craig Conroy should look at locking up or is this a perfect pump and dump candidate to get more young assets?”
“That’s tough,” replied McLennan. “I think you want to keep players, but the minute you say 30 and you’re in a retool, I would probably say sell high if you could… He’s a guy, for me, who’s in and out the games. I notice him, then I don’t notice him for 3 games… I’d like somebody who scores goals a little bit more consistent in their play and their 200 foot game. I don’t think that’s him and I don’t think that will ever be him.”
Boomer, on the other hand, was a little hesitant to say the Flames should sell on Kuzmenko if he continues his hot streak through the end of the season given the current rosters lack of highly skilled forwards.
“I want to see more,” said Boomer. “Unless you get a really good offer this summer, I’m not trading him. We have done nothing but belly ache and bitch here about needing skill. Could you please get some skill? Could you get some guys that can score?… You finally get a guy who has some high end skill and he is, he is an electrifying player and now you want to see guys who have more of a 200 foot game.”
Kuzmenko, who was used as piece to balance the books in the trade that saw Elias Lindholm make his way to the Vancouver Canucks in late January, has performed fairly well given the change of scenery early in his NHL career. Pinder would suggest that if the Flames were able to flip Kuzmenko, this would be a clear cut win for Craig Conroy and the Flames front office.
“That’s a cash throw in from Vancouver,” noted Pinder. “They needed to make the money work with Lindholm, he was getting healthy [scratched] by Tocchet, who’s going to win coach of the year by a landslide,  but a guy who had 39 as a rookie who was a throw in in a deal and you might be able to turn him around into a similar type package as the one you got for Lindholm. That would be a masterclass in asset management.”
Do you want to see the Flames offer Andrei Kuzmenko a contract extension, or flip him for more young assets? Let us know in the comments!
Watch Wednesday’s episode in full here:

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