Panthers' Kulikov Signs With KHL Yaroslavl

Florida defenseman will don familiar number 7 on Lokomotiv backend

One of the longest-running non-secret secrets of the NHL's labor dispute, player-wise, finally found resolution Thursday when 21 year-old blueliner Dmitry Kulikov returned to the organization which fostered his earliest development by signing a "lockout deal" with the KHL's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.

Kulikov, already a National League veteran with three seasons on his resume, brings 198 regular-season NHL games of experience to a roster teeming with talent long seen on North American shores including Artem Anisimov, Niklas Hagman, Viktor Kozlov, Vitali Vishnevsky, Sami Lepisto and Semyon Varlamov, among others. Lokomotiv associate coach Dmitri Yushkevich was a short-term Panthers defenseman in 2002.

Kuli remains an unsigned Restricted Free Agent with Florida.