Toronto Maple Leafs trade rumors: Does Dmitry Kulikov make sense?
The NHL rumor mill has really picked up in the last few days, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are right in the thick of things. With the Florida Panthers going nowhere fast, word is that they wouldn’t hesitate to trade any of their veterans if the right deal came along. While the asking price for a guy like Tomas Fleischmann is probably too high at the moment, the Toronto Maple Leafs might finally see an opening to grab a player they covet.
As per Damien Cox of the Toronto Star:
One of the players the Maple Leafs have been eying from afar over the past couple of seasons is defenceman Dmitri Kulikov of the Florida Panthers, and Kulikov might just be more available now than he was because of the wreckage of Florida’s early season play. He’s only 22, but already has four full seasons in the NHL.
Young defenders with promise and a physical edge don’t come cheap, and the Panthers aren’t just going to give Kulikov away for a few nets and a shovel. It’s odd that Toronto would pop up in these conversations at all though, given that they’re currently trying to deal John Michael-Liles and are willing to retain some of his salary to do so.
With Dion Phaneuf needing a new contract at the end of the season, and youngsters like Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly already battling for spots on the roster (let alone ice time) why would Toronto even consider adding another youthful defender like Kulikov to the mix?
Especially if the price was high.
Rumblings are always fun to examine, but this one just doesn’t seem to make sense for the Leafs. Not from a monetary standpoint, a roster standpoint or a player development standpoint.