The Trade Deadline is February 28th at 3PM EST. What we’re doing everyday until then is do an honest roster break down of the current roster for the month of February. Today, we look at Dmitry Kulikov.
Dmitry Kulikov was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (14th overall) out of Drummondville of the QMJHL. The then 18 year-old Russian surprisingly made the team out of training camp. After a rough start and a knee injury that cost him 14 games, Kulikov rebounded in the second half of the season to become one of the better Panther defenders. He posted 3 goals and 13 assists and a -5 rating, which is not bad considering his inexperience and playing on a team that wasn’t talent laden.
Great things were expected for Kulikov coming into the the 2010-2011 season but, his campaign got off to a less than stellar start. He went pointless in his first 12 games while regressing on his defensive responsibilities. Bad passes and giveaways, getting caught too deep in the offensive zone, ill advised penalties characterized his first two-plus months of the season. Once the calender flipped to 2011, the Kulikov everyone expected to see began to emerge. He scored a beautiful overtime winner against the New Jersey Devils on January 15th, which, in tandem with being paired with Keaton Ellerby, seemed to jumpstart his game. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, he bruised his ankle on Feb 13th and hasn’t played since (he’s currently on IR). As of this writing, there is no timetable for his return. In 51 games this season, he’s posted 19 points (4 goals) with a +8 rating.
Kulikov is in year two of his three year entry deal with a cap hit of $1.325 million (according to Capgeek).
As we all know, Dale Tallon has said nobody is untouchable. I don’t think he is being actively shopped, nor has he been the subject of even the most Eklund-esque of trade rumors. But with the Panthers‘ being pretty deep with defensemen (both with the team and in the system), it’s not entirely crazy to think he could be a chip in a deal that might bring a legit top-6 forward to Sunrise (but still unlikely). Unless, something like that comes up, he’ll be a Panther after February 28th and into next season. If he’s re-signed after his deal is up, the Cats have the makings of a quite formidable blueline with Ellerby, Erik Gudbranson, Jason Garrison, Colby Robak.
Dmitry Kulikov….What say you?
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