Birthdate: 10/29/1990 (24)
Acquired: 1st round selection (#14 overall) 2009 NHL Entry Draft
2014-15 Team/League: Florida Panthers (NHL)
Size: 6'0"; 205 lbs.
Contract Status: UFA at end of 2016-2017 season ($4,333,333 AAV)
After being taken with the 14th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Dmitry Kulikov jumped straight into the NHL, and hasn't left it since. He's played a total of 386 games, and put up 121 points in his NHL career. Given the massive roster turnover that the Panthers have undergone (multiple times) over the past six seasons, Kulikov is the longest tenured player on the current roster, despite only being 24-years-old.
We've taken a look at his tumultuous career with the Panthers, as he's experienced success, failure, and almost everything in between. Heading into the 2015-2016 season, however, he has some potential to unlock, and his guaranteed spot on the roster as a top-four defenseman is what makes him immensely valuable to the organization, earning him the #6 ranking on our countdown.
From our Season in Review article on Kulikov:Dmitry Kulikov is a player who experienced a bit of good puck luck in his first years as a Panther, resulting in high point totals, and high expectations. Injuries, coaches, and bad puck luck really affected his play, and though he had a bounce back season in 2014-2015, there's still tons of untapped potential that can be shown during the 2015-2016 campaign.
|Michael Matheson||Dmitry Kulikov||Erik Gudbranson||Brandon Pirri|