Vancouver Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko, left, of Russia, and Bo Horvat talk before a faceoff against the Florida Panthers during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Thursday, December 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko, left, of Russia, and Bo Horvat talk before a faceoff against the Florida Panthers during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Thursday, December 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

THE MOJ: Canuck free agents, pricey pitchers and the value of irrelevance

‘What is Kuzmenko going to cost?’ in a Friday sports potpourri

Sometimes there’s so much going on that we just want to cover it all, so on these occasions we will offer up a little ‘Sports Potpourri” for your enjoyment.

With everyone focusing on Bo Horvat and his contract situation with the Vancouver Canucks, the discussion regarding the future of Andrei Kuzmenko has been minimal.

Kuzmenko was signed by the Canucks this summer to a one-year-deal worth $950,000 after four seasons with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. He clearly bet on himself, hoping to prove that he can play at the NHL level and then secure a more lucrative contract.

After a third of the season, that approach appears to be the correct one as the 26-year-old winger has tallied 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points in 28 games while proving to be a nice fit with Elias Pettersson both in five-on-five play and with the power play unit.

Kuzmenko’s agent is Dan Milstein, who is on record as saying he won’t talk contract extension with the Canucks until the end of the year. If Kuzmenko keeps up his current pace and produces a 30-goal season, the floor for Milstein’s ask will be $6 million per year with the possibility of the number being even higher.

Given the Canucks salary cap situation, they might not be able to afford Kuzmenko and it will be interesting to see how this situation plays itself out as the March 3rd trade deadline approaches.

***

I finished watching the San Francisco 49er’s 21-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks and was impressed with the composure shown by 49er quarterback Brock Purdy.

Purdy came out of the gates by completing his first 11 passes and looked like a seasoned veteran with his first touchdown strike of the game to George Kittle – faking a double screen before finding his tight end down the middle for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

It’s actually an amazing story.

Purdy was “Mr. Irrelevant” – the last selection in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State – who has been pressed into service after season-ending injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. All Purdy has done is play mistake-free football in guiding the 49ers to three wins and keeping their Super Bowl hopes alive.

Lumen Field is an intimidating environment but Purdy didn’t seem fazed at all as he completed his first 11 passes on the night. One of his more impressive throws was a third-and-seven conversion with the 49ers backed up deep in their own territory. Purdy threaded the needle between two Seahawk defenders and found Jauan Jennings on a slant to give the 49ers some breathing space.

Of course, it helps when you have a weapon like Christian McCaffrey at your disposal and an offensive line that has given up one sack in seven games. Throw in an elite defense led by Nick Bosa and you have a team that can make a deep run if Purdy can just manage games.

What Purdy has yet to prove is whether or not he can win a game for the 49ers.

If he can, bet on the 49ers.

Speaking of Bosa, the roughing the passer penalty called on him early in the third quarter that wiped out Deommodore Lenoir’s interception return for a touchdown was a complete joke.

We all understand that the NFL is trying to protect quarterbacks and one of the rules in place is that defenders are not allowed to slam quarterbacks to the ground but all Bosa did was tackle Seattle quarterback Geno Smith as he was releasing the football. It was a football play but the NFL has made it such a black-and-white call for officials that it’s taken any common sense out of decision-making process.

***

Some of the contracts being handed out by teams in Major League Baseball leave me wondering about the sanity of owners.

Carlos Rodon’s first six seasons in the big leagues saw him win a grand total of 29 games with the Chicago White Sox. Rodon suffered through injuries during that time but finally got healthy enough to go 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 132 innings for the Sox in 2020.

Last year with the San Francisco Giants, Rodon threw a career-high 178 innings en route to a 14-8 record with a 2.88 ERA.

On Thursday, the left-hander parlayed that performance into signing a six-year deal with the New York Yankees worth $162 million dollars.

Doing the math, that’s $27 million dollars per season.

Not a bad score for a 29-year-old pitcher who has managed to put together two good – not great – seasons while staying healthy.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.

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