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Panthers re-sign Kulikov: three years, $13 million

Jul 18, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

Dmitry Kulikov Getty Images

The Florida Panthers have locked up one of their young defensive cornerstones, inking Dmitry Kulikov to a three-year, $13 million extension on Friday.

Kulikov, 23, is coming off a campaign in which he set career highs for games played (81) and goals (eight). The Russian rearguard also averaged nearly 22 minutes a night while finishing second among Florida defensemen in hits and fourth in blocked shots — as a result, he’ll now pull in $4.3M annually and become the team’s second highest-paid blueliner in the process.

The Panthers’ first-round selection (14th overall) at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kulikov is the third young d-man to re-up with the team in recent weeks — eight days ago, Erik Gudbranson inked a two-year tender and four days ago, Dylan Olsen signed a two-year deal as well. With those deals in place, Florida projects to have a potential top-six defense of Brian Campbell, Willie Mitchell, Aaron Ekblad, Kulikov, Gudbranson and Olsen… which isn’t too shabby at all.

  1. kaptaanamerica - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Four of their top six are pretty green still even Kulikov isn’t a solid veteran. guess that’s what Willie and Campbell are their for …

    If they keep the team together they should be good in about three years after the young talent has gotten some experience…

    • ewampus - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      “Not necessarily.”

      – Craig MacTavish

      • shaundre93 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        I think the big difference here is that Talon has provided some really good vets for the young guys to learn from, where as in Edmonton all of their top picks showed up on day 1 as pretty much the best player on the team and were left to fend for themselves. Yeah, the overpaid Bolland, but he’s the kind of guy who can help out the young forwards. Florida’s doing it right, if Barkov and Huberdeau become elite they’ll have a contending team in a few years

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Shaundre is correct. The coilers didn’t have any solid vets as a leadership group to carry the load for a year or two while the young stars developed. That’s why I mentioned Willie and Campbell. They’ve won cups and will command respect from everyone on the room. Not to mention they’ll teach these guys how to be professionals.

        The coilers never put together the same setup. Though you could say getting Ference was a step in that direction, but it may have come too late after bad habits had already set in…

  2. lilgurgi - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Since when did a 3 year deal mean someone was “locked up”?

    • rmccleary97 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      When the alternative is “… and going into training camp, ____ remains unsigned.”

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