Left handed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is a Winnipeg Jet having signed a deal with the club to open the NHL 2017 Free Agency period.
3 years, $4.33 aav for Kulikov in Wpg.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2017
The 26 year old defenseman spent last season with the Buffalo Sabres after having been traded there by the Florida Panthers during last year’s 2016 NHL Draft. He struggled all season with Buffalo only posting 2 goals and 5 points in 47 games played. Part of that struggle was a result of having to deal with a back injury suffered in a pre-season contest that he missed a large portion of time from and was still having to deal with even when back in the lineup.
Kulikov comes to the Jets a year later with lower expectations than what Buffalo had for him a year ago as they had hoped he would play a middle pairing role and even see time on the top pairing of the Sabres. Sabres GM Tim Murray lamented at the end of the season that the deal hadn’t worked out for the club.
GMTM on @WGR550: "When I traded for Kulikov I thought I was getting a top3 dman.. Right now we can all sit here and say it didn't work out."
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) March 21, 2017
With the Jets, Kulikov joins a club with a top three already well established (Byfuglien, Trouba and Morrissey) and can fit in with a bottom pairing role with some time spent on the Jets second pair if needed. He also has seen time on the power play both in Florida and Buffalo and has been regarded as a good two-way defender.