Dmitry Kulikov

Russian-born Dmitry Vladimirovich Kulikov plays defense for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL). At the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he was selected by the Florida Panthers in the first round, as the fourteenth overall pick. He has ice time under his belt with the Panthers, Sabres, Jets, Devils, Oilers, and Wild.

Dmitry Kulikov, a defenceman for the Minnesota Wild, was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. The Wild signed the Russian defenseman Kulikov, then 31 years old, to a two-year contract last summer. In 80 games with the Wild last season, Kulikov recorded seven goals, seventeen assists, and a plus-23 rating.

The 2009 first-round pick by the Florida Panthers will be playing in the NHL for his eighth different franchise starting next month. In 805 career games, he has 42 goals and 156 assists. He has skated for three different teams in the past two years: the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild. Although his true importance resides within his own zone, Kulikov is most useful as a second or third-line defender due to his willingness to take a shot from the point.

The Ducks, who are in the midst of a rebuild under new general manager Pat Verbeek, have been adding low-risk veterans like Kulikov to supplement their talented young core. Though his salary isn’t a significant drawback, the Wild can use the money saved to solve some salary cap difficulties.

John Klingberg, a productive defender, was signed to a one-year deal by Anaheim this summer, after the signings of multiyear contracts by center Ryan Strome and forward Frank Vatrano. In addition, Kulikov’s contract has one year and $2.25 million left on it.

As Verbeek cautiously manages his long-term obligations with a rebuilding club, Anaheim is now approaching the league’s minimum payroll.

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Career

The Sabres acquired Kulikov and the 33rd overall choice in the 2016 NHL Draft from the Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mark Pysyk and the 38th and 89th overall selections. Kulikov’s time with the Sabres was severely impacted by injuries in 2016–17. He played in 47 games during the final year of his contract but only managed to score two goals and five points total—career lows.

Kulikov signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets on July 1, 2017, after being a free agent following his unsuccessful stint with the Buffalo Sabres.

Kulikov left the Jets as a free agent after his contract expired and signed a one-year, $1.15 million deal with the New Jersey Devils on October 22, 2020. Kulikov contributed a solid defensive game for the Devils during the pandemic-delayed 2020-21 season, in which he played in 38 games and recorded 2 assists.

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As the Devils were eliminated from postseason contention, Kulikov was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on the trade deadline (12 April 2021) for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022. Kulikov became a free agent when his time with the Oilers ended and, on July 28, 2021, signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Minnesota Wild.

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