The NY Islanders have been racking up the points over the last month, though there's room for improvement. Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat have been tearing up the scoresheet of late, with Anders Lee beginning to turn up his game after a slow start.
While Lee has been the unheralded hero over the teams last two victories according to his teammates, Lou Lamoriello is always looking to make his team better, and he could turn to the Vancouver Canucks once again to make that possible.
A 39-goal scorer from last season, the Canucks are reportedly taking calls on 27-year-old Andrei Kuzmenko. While the Canucks have been among the league's best teams this season after a disappointing 2022-23, Kuzmenko's contributions and ice time have been minimal. With only four goals this season, Kuzmenko, a perennial first-line winger, only played 10:36 against the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night, a season low, and has been a healthy scratch twice already this season.
"I think there have been some conversations between the Canucks and teams, 'what are we thinking here?'" said Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman on his 32 Thoughts podcast on a possible Kuzmenko trade. "And although it's probably too soon, one thing we've learned about Vancouver - if they get something, they do it."
Kuzmenko has two years remaining on his current contract at $5.5M AAV, with a 12-team no-trade clause. With the Islanders pressed against the cap ceiling, salary would be required to go the other way to be cap-compliant.
The Isles and Canucks were involved in a blockbuster trade last season, sending Bo Horvat to the Isles for a first-round pick, Anthony Beauvillier, and Aatu Raty. Horvat and Kuzmenko spent plenty of time playing alongside each other during Horvat's time in Vancouver, with the two building a dynamic chemistry in the best statistical year of their careers.
The Isles may not have the horses to give up to make this trade possible, but if Lamoriello believes this will bring his team to the next level, he'll explore every avenue to make it possible.
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