Fresh off of acquiring Keith Yandle from the New York Rangers and signing him to a mega deal, the Florida Panthers have shipped off one of their own blueliners, trading Dmitry Kulikov and a 2nd round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Mark Pysyk, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick.
BUF is sending Mark Pysyk and picks to FLA for Dmitri Kulikov.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 25, 2016
Dmitry Kulikov Traded To Buffalo Sabres
Kulikov signed a three-year pact with the Panthers in 2014. His current deal has paid him $4.3 million per season the past two seasons with a year remaining. He will hit unrestricted free agency next summer.
The Lipetsk native is 26-years old. He has been a fixture in Florida’s top four. A defensive defenseman, Kulikov led the team in blocked shots (121) and was third in ice time (21:02). He likes to take the body, throwing 122 hits this past season, fifth on the Panthers using his 6’1″, 204-pound frame.
This past season, he did not provide much in the way of offense, scoring just one goal and 17 points in 74 games. That’s been common for his NHL career, as he’s never made it to double digits in the goal scoring category and has topped out at 28 points in 2011-12. He saved his best offensive work for the postseason. He scored a goal and tallied four points in the Panthers six-game series loss to the New York Islanders.
Career to Date
The 14th overall pick in 2009, Kulikov was drafted for his skating and offensive game. He scored 12 goals and 62 points in 57 QMJHL games for Drummondville. Though he has not panned out offensively at the NHL level, he can be a solid physical presence in a team’s top four and log big minutes. He still has not hit his prime yet, but a team should look at any offensive contribution as a bonus. They also have to be wary of his struggles with turning the puck over.