Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Toronto Maple Leafs Trade For Dmitry Kulikov Fell Through Last Year


Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports had an interesting tidbit regarding the Leafs and a potential deal for Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in yesterday’s 30 Thoughts column:

The details are hard to pin down, but, at some point last season, the Florida Panthers came pretty close to pulling off a deal that would have sent Dmitry Kulikov to Toronto. One of the teams backed away. But it would come as no surprise to see this conversation rekindled. Kulikov certainly has talent yet is inconsistent. Could he benefit from a change?

One of the worst kept secrets in hockey these days is the Panthers are looking into the possibility of trading Kulikov. Bob McKenzie said in TSN’s “Insider Trading” segment last night that the Panthers were holding an “auction” to see what they could get for the 23-year-old d-man. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun tweeted that the Panthers made Kulikov a healthy scratch in their game against the Senators last night specifically because they’re pushing hard for a trade.

If Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is indeed fielding offers for the former 14th overall pick in 2009, should Dave Nonis and the Leafs be involved?

The Leafs could definitely use some help on the back-end. The team is horrendous in limiting opponents’ shot attempts, and Kulikov has been a positive shot differential player this year and almost every other year of his career. His offensive numbers have hit a wall the past couple of years, but he’s still generating a pretty high number of shots for a defenseman, and his skating ability makes him a clear upgrade over Mark Fraser and Paul Ranger at the very least.

Panthers fans have been pretty clearly disappointed in Kulikov’s play and have made him a whipping boy of sorts for the team’s troubles. But Kulikov is still averaging almost 20 minutes a night, and is only behind Brian Campbell and Tom Gilbert on the blue-line in average five-on-five ice time. He’s had his issues with penalties and turnovers, but it’s not like he’s getting buried under shot attempts, either.

Nonis should be re-opening the lines of communication with Tallon at the very least if he’s shopping Kulikov. Maybe the Panthers were asking too much for his liking last year, or maybe Nonis didn’t offer enough. We don’t know. I wouldn’t do anything crazy like trading Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner or Morgan Rielly for him, but if the asking price is reasonable, I wouldn’t mind seeing another young talented defenseman in the Leafs’ system at all.

What say you?

Should the Leafs trade for Kulikov?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Tags: Dmitry Kulikov Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Katrina Capp

    I don’t understand why they need another defenseman. They have a talented young defenseman that is under achieving and everyone is talking about trading him. I think they need to move around what we have. Fraser should not be playing in the NHL and Liles should not be in the AHL, he’s looking great down there btw. The last thing the Leafs need is another defenseman.

    • Tim Bayer

      You would be opposed to adding another young, talented defenseman to go along with Gardiner and Rielly? Maybe the asking price is too high anyway, but I would definitely be open to kicking the tires on it.

      • Katrina Capp

        We have too many defense men then we know what to do with we have talented guys sitting in the press box and playing in the AHL. I honestly think we are good on the trade front unless we get a chance to get rid of Kessel or Phaneuf I’d be in for that.

        • Tim Bayer

          Sure, the Leafs have a lot of d-men, but how many of those are top-four calibre? Kulikov could jump right into the top four and be very effective, and he’s only 23. Fraser’s not good enough. Franson has been pretty awful. Ranger’s looked steady but isn’t a great skater. I just don’t think the group right now is good enough.

          • Katrina Capp

            If kulikov can’t handle Florida, the land where hockey doesn’t exist (trust me I’ve been there during hockey season) how is going to handle Toronto. He isn’t going to be able to preform at a top 4 level. Luke Schenn is on the trade block in philly apparently maybe we should get him back!