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Panthers trade Dmitry Kulikov to Buffalo for Mark Pysyk and picks

Cats continue blueline remodel with latest deal

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Where there is smoke there is fire. The Florida Panthers have traded defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Mark Pysyk.

The teams also swapped their second-round picks in today's draft and Florida acquired Buffalo's 2016 third-rounder (89th overall).

Pysyk, 24, was chosen by the Sabres 24 overall in the 2010 Entry Draft. After finishing his junior career with the Edmonton Oil Kings, he has split his time between Buffalo and their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

Last season, Pysyk played in 55 games for the Sabres and totaled one goal, ten assists with 32 PIM. He plus/minus rating was a very respectable -1 on a team that missed the playoffs.

The Cats newest defenseman is signed through the end of the 2016-17 season when he will become a restricted free agent.

Kulikov played seven years for the Panthers after being their first-round selection in 2009. In 460 games, the Russian scored 28 goals and added 110 assists. The 25-year-old was entering the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

With the acquisition and subsequent signing of Keith Yandle, and Aaron Ekblad slated for a long-term deal, the dollars probably were not there to extend Kulikov, necessitating a trade.