Edmonton Oilers: Looking at expiring contracts – UFA edition

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Dmitry Kulikov #70, Edmonton Oilers
Dmitry Kulikov #70, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Left D Dmitry Kulikov, expiring contract $1.15 million

Kulikov came to the Oilers at the trade deadline as a rental for a 2022 fourth-round pick that would’ve become a third had the Oilers beat Winnipeg. Nothing in his play suggested to me that that would change with the passage of time and games played.

Kulikov formed a pretty good shutdown pairing with Adam Larsson, but in fairness so did most of Larsson’s partners. Like Barrie, Kulikov is a bit suspect as a Jekyll and Hyde type, as the book on him is he is a good stay at home guy but is usually good for 1 mistake per game – and of course, it’s only a matter of time before some of those end up in the back of your net.

This likely explains why Kulikov is an ex-Winnipeg Jet now. He did his job but IMO that job can be done by younger players who are cheaper and better options long term. Kulikov’s boxcars are basically what you’d expect for him – 0-2-2 in 10 games played post-trade deadline with a +1 to boot. Most of the time he played on the second pairing.

Now he didn’t do a lot of physical work, but it’s worth nothing that he did finish 8th on the team in hits/60 at 7.1 (that seemed like a better stat to use considering the small regular season sample size we had to work with him) and 9th on the team in blocked shots/60 with 3.38.

Depending on how things go, his position could possibly be taken by Slater Koekkoek or William Laggeson, both of whom are more reliable and cheaper options for the roster spot. Kulikov’s playoffs were pretty much what you’d suspect – three games, no offense, -3.

Additionally, there was literally no time on the PP but he was used as a secondary option on the PK, likely the 2nd unit, with just over a minute per game in that regard. No surprises there, either.

I’d be surprised if he was brought back.

Chances he’s re-signed – 15%. From rental status, he has come and to free agency, he shall return.

Projected contract – 1 year, $1 million