NHL Rumors: Reason Why Kulikov Was Traded For Future Considerations By Wild

The Minnesota Wild are still feeling the effects of buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter as they have $12.74 million tied up in dead cap from them next season and more the year after. The team wasn't able to even negotiate a deal with breakout star Kevin Fiala and was forced to trade him. Dmitry Kulikov was traded away for future considerations because the Wild really have that little room to work with. The next three seasons are going to be a big struggle and we may see even more moves like these.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin said, "The team had too many defensemen, it gives cap flexibility to make a trade before camp or in-season." It's true that there didn't appear to be a spot on the team for top prospect Calen Addison with the same defensive group the team ended the season with.
The Wild also have three defensemen paid at least $6 million AAV. But instead of possibly overdeveloping Addison in the minors or taking a spot away from another effective player on the back-end, there is a solution for now.

Unfortunately the Wild lost someone who was very effective in a third pairing role and had arguably the best season in his 13-year career at age 31. It was a major bounce-back season for Kulikov as he had recorded just four assists in 48 games in 2020-21 before putting up seven goals and 24 points last season. He plays a great defensive game and recorded over 100 hits and blocked shots last season, played a ton of shorthanded minutes, and was a plus-23.

The Wild have more than just Addison on the rise for the coming years and the team will need it for the next few seasons while they can't afford to sign any big names while also trying to stay competitive.

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