Edmonton Oilers get it right by trading for Dmitry Kulikov

Edmonton Oilers, Dmitry Kulikov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Edmonton Oilers, Dmitry Kulikov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers made one final move before the NHL trade deadline by trading for defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. The veteran was acquired by the Oilers from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. This was confirmed by SportsNet and well, the Oilers got it right by making this small trade as they prepare for a playoff run this season.

In the grand scheme of things, the Oilers trading for Kulikov was a smart move just for the depth he’ll bring on defense alone. Bringing in a veteran that has been in the NHL for over 12 years now can help revitalize the second and third-line defense that has at times blown close games due to not tightening things up.

General manager Ken Holland admitted earlier that fans shouldn’t expect the Oilers to make any big moves at the NHL trade deadline. Holland kept things status quo and even though this trade for Kulikov isn’t a huge or splashy one, it does serve a purpose at the end of the day.

Sure, it might not help the Oilers advance deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, but giving up just a fourth-round pick doesn’t hurt their future at all. In return, they get a veteran player who will only help the cause to help an area of need for the Oilers. He can come in when needed in those close game situations where the defense can actually let them leave more hockey games victorious.

While fans would have enjoyed the Oilers picking up another offensive player or even a goalie, it looks like the Oilers are content with who they have and are ready to push the envelope. How far they go this postseason remains to be seen but regardless, it’ll be another fun ride to see just what this team’s identity is all about.

This was a solid pickup by the Oilers to bring a bit more toughness and grit to their defense with a player that has some good upside. He might not be a definitive answer to all the woes on defense but for now, will boost that part of the team that still needs a bit more consistency when it matters most.

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So far in his career, Kulikov has totaled 35 goals, 137 assists, and 172 points. With 41 power play assists, that’s also an area of need to contribute when his number is called on the Oilers. Overall, this is a win-win situation for both the Oilers and Kulikov.