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Flames deal Lindholm to Vancouver Canucks for Kuzmenko, draft picks

2024 first-round draft pick among assets headed to Calgary
Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm (28) warms up before the team’s NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. The Vancouver Canucks have acquired forward Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, George Walker IV

The Vancouver Canucks have acquired forward Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames, the team announced Wednesday night.

In exchange, the Flames will receive forward Andrei Kuzmenko, defencemen Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round draft pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick.

The 29-year-old Lindholm joins the NHL-leading Canucks having posted nine goals and 23 assists in 49 games for the Flames so far in 2023-24.

Lindholm was traded to Calgary in 2018 by Carolina and enjoyed the best years of his 11-year career with the Flames, including a career-best 42-goal season in 2021-22.

Kuzmenko, 27, has struggled this season, with only eight goals and 21 assists in 43 games so far and has been a healthy scratch multiple times.

Kuzmenko signed a two-year, US$11 million contract extension in January 2023.

The forward has been open about his point production struggles this season and has been moved up and down lines by Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.

Tocchet labelled Kuzmenko’s play during this season as just “OK,” and says the forward needs “to start to play a little harder.”

“I need to be better, this I understand. That’s why I haven’t played (as much) this season,” he said in November.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin, who signed a three-year extension on Wednesday, paid tribute to Kuzmenko’s work in Vancouver.

READ MORE: First-place Vancouver Canucks extend GM Allvin for multiple years

“First of all, I want to thank Kuzy for all that he did for the Vancouver Canucks. Andrei worked hard at improving his game and trying to adjust to life as a pro in North America,” said Allvin in a statement.

“In acquiring Elias Lindholm we feel that he vastly improves our hockey team. He is a proven front-line performer and will give head coach Rick Tocchet some more options when putting together our top two lines.”

The Canucks are tied with the Boston Bruins with 71 points to sit atop the NHL standings.

The Canadian Press