This in from broadcaster Kevin Weekes: “**Breaking News ** NJDevils likely to send D Kulikov to Edmonton Oilers for a Draft Pick.”
Reports the Devils Army Blog: “:Kulikov was a darn good player for the Devils this season, one of, if not the best defenseman they had this season. Great signing for Fitz. Good luck to Kulikov in EDM!”
And Jonathan Willis of the Athletic: “Kulikov has been connected to the Oilers in rumour forever, going way back to when he was in Florida. He’s had a very good year by the underlying numbers and in a heavily DZ-oriented role. As a bargain-bin pickup, he’s easy to like.”
1. Hmm. Kulikov is a defensive d-man playing second-pairing minutes against tough competition. Is he any better than Kris Russell? If this deal comes about, it means the Oilers aren’t yet prepared to trust Caleb Jones or William Lagesson on the left side, which makes some sense, given the defensive struggles of both players.
2. How good is Kulikov? I’ll leave that assessment until I see him play for the Oilers.
3. Oilers GM Ken Holland has often said that for a long playoff run he likes to have depth. If nothing else, Kulikov is a long-time NHL player who improves the team’s defensive depth.