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2024 Stanley Cup Final

NHL Free Agency: Dmitry Kulikov Stays with the Florida Panthers

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It appears Dmitry Kulikov will end his career with the Florida Panthers after signing a four-year contract extension on Monday. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Dmitry Kulikov started his career with the Florida Panthers. It appears he will end it with the Panthers as well.

Kulikov, 33, has agreed to a four-year contract worth just over $1 million per season.

He was set to be a free agent when the market opened today at noon.

Florida’s first-round pick in 2009, Kulikov spent seven seasons with the Panthers before being traded to Buffalo at the 2016 draft.

The defenseman bounced around, a lot, afterward — playing for seven different teams before coming back to the Panthers on a one-year deal last July 1.

Kulikov got his No. 7 back, only the Panthers logo was different.

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“It feels nice,’’ Kulikov said last summer. “When I didn’t play for the Panthers, it has been in my heart. I had been a Panther since Day 1 and now I am back and very excited. I got drafted here, started my career here. It feels like it was some unfinished business.

“We had a good team before I left and the Panthers continued the good runs, were a playoff team and this past season made a really good run to the Finals. I am really excited for the opportunity to come back and contribute to the success the team has had in the years I haven’t been here. It feels good.’’

Kulikov said he came back to the Panthers because he wanted to come home, but to also win the Stanley Cup.

For the first time in his career, he got it.

His big play on a loose puck in front of an empty net in Game 7 helped the Panthers get their championship.

“I guess it was always meant to be that he is the man who comes here and makes the saving play at the end and wins the Cup with the team that drafted him,” said Sasha Barkov, who was a teammate of Kulikov’s from 2013-16 before he returned.

“I was lucky that I got to play with him. He was one of the main guys who pretty much showed me the path here in Florida when I first got here. My first three years, I stayed with him a little bit and obviously spent a lot of time with him speaking the same language. He’s an unbelievable guy and now he is here winning the Cup with us.”

More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Panthers:

UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS
  • NHL Free Agency: Today
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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Panther Paw

Hmmm…okay signing but I would rather see the money go to keeping Montour

ConkmanFL

Agreed. You have to really watch and pay attention the little things that a lot of the underappreciated guys on the team do, for the team, every shift they are on the ice.

surveyjay

Monty was getting over five million, we couldn’t afford him no matter what. This is a great signing, he’s a solid defensive defenseman and he knows the system, The only thing that could possibly be of any concern with this deal is term, as he is a little long in tooth. This is a good thing for the panthers. Monty deserves a big raise after the last two years, he deserves to get paid, we simply don’t have the room to sign him AND fill out a competitive roster.

Zeke1961

IMHO, Kuli overwhelmingly outplayed his million bucks worth on D for us, and has an unabashed “Lindseyesque” love for this team. Kudos to Zito once again; his eyes never leave the prize.

surveyjay

Agreed.

Ed Purchase

A solid signing. He’s bought in on the team and South Florida. I see him with the Cats long after his on-ice contract is through.

Rat King

Happy to have him back! The players we have resigned have left money on the table. I don’t blame the others for leaving to get a better check. I’m going to miss Monty and Lomberg the most, but they have to do what is best for them. Lomberg hasn’t made a bunch of money in the league, and he needs to put everything away he can for him and his family. This is the 1st shot Monty has had to made the real big bucks.

Last edited 14 days ago by Rat King
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