Each day we are going to give you the Final Grade on the Florida Panthers roster. The members here known as The Rat Pack will rotate daily until we have completed our assessment of
bodies talent players. Today’s Final Grade Report is on Dmitry Kulikov
How Acquired: Drafted 14th overall in 2009 by the Florida Panthers
2010-2011 Stats: 6 G, 20 A, -10 rating, 45 PIM
2011-2012 Contract Situation: Signed through 2012
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 made the team out of training camp. After a rough start Kulikov became 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.
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At the beginning of 2010 he was just plain awful…bad passes and giveaways, getting caught deep in the offensive zone, horrible penalties however in the second half, the Kulikov everyone expected to see began to emerge. He scored a beautiful overtime winner against the New Jersey Devils which, in combined with being paired with Keaton Ellerby, seemed to jumpstart his game.
Kulikov carries a cap hit of $1.325 million through 2012 (according to Capgeek). I see him continuing with this franchise. He will be a cornerstone player with Gudbranson on the blueline and a great offensive minded defensemen to have in the line up one he has forwards to connect with on the powerplay.
In the end: I think he stays. Dale Tallon is not going to let a young emerging talent like this go without a heavy price tag that involves high scoring forwards coming back…I don’t think any team will be willing to pay that for Kulikov and honestly I hope he stays…if he continues his development we will see a great defenseman grow up through our system. Unfortunately Kulikov didn’t get a chance to develop like normal through the AHL so we have to deal with him learning at the expense of our current team…but over time he will mature into a solid contributor night in and night out.
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