The Florida Panthers have re-signed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a three-year deal worth $13 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an annual cap hit of over $4.333 million, which is a considerable raise over the $2.5 million per season of his previous contract.
Kulikov was the subject of trade speculation last season linking him with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche. Much of that was attributed to the decline of his performance under the Panthers previous two coaches.
Only 23, Kulikov has five NHL seasons under his belt. The revolving door of coaches and the upheaval facing the Panthers roster over the past two years adversely affected his play. With Gerard Gallant now the Panthers new bench boss, management is confident he and Kulikov will work well together. If so, it’ll provide a significant boost to the Panthers defense corps.