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Trade rumor: Leafs eyeing Panthers’ Kulikov

Oct 22, 2013, 2:13 PM EDT

Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers skates against the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils shutout the Panthers 4-0.
(April 18, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

From the department of NHL trade rumors, here’s Damien Cox of the Toronto Star with a juicy one:

A Panther to keep an eye on: One of the players the Maple Leafs have been eying from afar over the past couple of seasons is defenceman Dmitri Kulikov of the Florida Panthers, and Kulikov might just be more available now than he was because of the wreckage of Florida’s early season play. He’s only 22, but already has four full seasons in the NHL. A couple of problems. He won’t come cheap. He’s in the last year of a contract that comes with a $2.5 million hit and will be looking for a significant pay increase this summer. And he shoots left, with the Leafs more in need of a right-handed shooting blueliner. Like Mike Kostka. Oh, never mind. . .

Not really sure what to make of this one. There’s no question the Panthers have veteran players general manager Dale Tallon is willing to trade, but Kulikov? Sure, his play has fallen off a bit, but as Cox notes, he’s still only 22.

That said, if we were looking for reasons Kulikov might be available, we might wonder about his relationship with the Panthers after last summer’s extended contract negotiation. But that’s mostly because we really like trade rumors and dislike when common sense says they probably won’t happen.

  1. withseidelinn - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Can’t see it happening purely based on his salary

  2. hockey412 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I was under the impression when they sent Liles down that they were ok/too crowded on D…no?

  3. 19to77 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Man, Nonis never seems to want what he actually needs. He already had JVR, Kessel and Lupul, but he signed Clarkson through till retirement. He had questionable centre depth, but he bought out Grabovski. He has Phaneuf, Gardiner and Rielly, but now he wants another guy with the same skill set and position?

  4. timsabourin - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Just Damien Cox trying to stay relevant, nothing to see here. This guy once wrote an article suggesting Matt Stajan should follow Mats Sundin as captain, COME ON.

  5. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    As a long time Leaf fan, I know that if a rumour involves “Damien Cox” and/or the “Toronto Star” it’s most likely total garbage. They’ll post anything to get a rise… Hence the underhanded jab about Mike Kostka at the end of his blurb. I like Kostka and all, he’s a decent 3rd line dman, but hardly the right handed shooter the Leafs let slip away.

    • sunderlanding - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:16 AM

      Here here! Damien Cox is a moron. He should change his first name to: “Sucks Big”.

  6. letsgopens8771 - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I bet it’s Gardiner who goes if there’s a trade in Toronto. He hasn’t been playing that well and is not a solid defender. He is not the best with the puck either.

    However, the Leafs are a good team and probably aren’t thinking too much about trades at the moment.

    • withseidelinn - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      No way they’re trading Gardiner for this guy

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