On Thursday afternoon, former Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dmitry Kulikov and the New Jersey Devils came together on a one-year, one-way contract worth $1.15 million. The former 14th overall selection of the Florida Panthers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft spent the past three seasons in Winnipeg with the Jets, following eight years between the Panthers and Buffalo Sabres.
“Kulikov is an experienced, physical left-shot defenseman who skates well,” said Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald. “His ability to play both the right and left side brings value to our defense corps.”
The 29-year-old defender put up two goals, 10 points and 32 penalty minutes in 51 games for the Jets last season, falling just shy of his best statistical output with Winnipeg from 2018-19. In 181 total games in the province of Manitoba, Kulikov put up five goals, 29 points and 103 combined penalty minutes.
After somehow negotiating a three-year deal worth $4.33 million annually in Winnipeg, Kulikov will fill a bottom-pair, shutdown role in New Jersey at a much more reasonable rate for his sub-par performance. A once highly-touted defensive prospect, Kulikov has seen his career trajectory slowly shift downwards.