If you were to name a player on the Toronto Maple Leafs that is most likely to be traded, you would probably say the name of Nikolai Kulemin.
An unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, it is not known if the Leafs and Kulemin have had any talks regarding a new contract. That leads to a lot of speculation that he will be traded before the trade deadline.
However, in comments after practice yesterday, expressed his feelings about why he wants to stay.
“I would love to stay… I like everything here. It’s the only team I have played for. I like the organization, the city, everything. We will see.”
A lot of questions were asked when Kulemin’s close personal friend Mikhail Grabovski was bought out last summer and how Kulemin would feel about that. He answered that question as well.
“A big change for me was when Grabovski left, and yeah, I was really close with him, but there are a lot of guys here who have played with me for a long time… I have a good relationship with everybody. It’s a good group of guys.”
Kulemin is currently the longest-serving Leaf as he began his career with the Leafs in 2008. A trade would be a big change for two sides that have been together for such an extended period.
If the Leafs trade Kulemin, they will want a player in return. That negates the speculation that the Leafs would be trading him in order to make room for Dave Bolland‘s cap hit.