The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that will more than likely make the playoffs. After being eliminated in the first round last season, the motivation for the Leafs is to make it farther. There’s no question that is what the Leafs are focused on as they get closer and closer to the playoffs.
However, after the playoffs end the Leafs have some decisions to make regarding their unrestricted free agents and whether they will keep them. One of those UFA’s is long-time Leaf, Nikolai Kulemin.
Kulemin was drafted by the Leafs in the second round (44th overall) in the 2006 NHL Draft. Debuting in the 2008-09 season, Kulemin is the longest-tenured player on the Leafs roster. Over his career with the Leafs, Kulemin has scored 83 goals and added 111 assists for 194 points in 406 games.
The question is now, will the Leafs bring him back for a seventh season with the team?
Kulemin is the type of player that can bounce around the Leafs lineup and play well in almost any role he’s given. However, the Leafs have more than a few young players that could take that role.
A player like Jerry D’Amigo could easily take the role that Kulemin currently fills. He has already had his first taste with the Leafs this season and that could help him crack the roster. Tyler Biggs could also play the role if he can make the team next year as well.
Kulemin’s cap hit this season is $2.8 million. He will more than likely want a raise and it is unknown whether the Leafs would would be willing to give him one.