The Edmonton Oilers have acquired defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional 2022 4th round pick. If Edmonton wins a playoff round this year, the pick upgrades to a 2022 3rd rounder.
His two points may not show it, but Kulikov was a nice addition to the Devils out of free agency in 2020-21. He added defensive value while playing physical during third pairing minutes. The Oilers have a group of mostly young defensemen, and added Kulikov gives them a steady veteran rental to help with their playoff run. If they do not win a playoff round, then just a 4th round pick for a good defensive defenseman is still a fine trade. So is a third round pick, and at that point you would be happy with a playoff series win. Kulikov has a $1.15 million cap hit before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
Kulikov, 30, has two assists with 39 blocked shots and 72 hits in 38 games for New Jersey this year. In his NHL career for the Devils, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres, Kulikov has scored 35 goals with 137 assists for 172 points with 947 blocked shots and 1128 hits in 715 games.
This will become repetitive at some point, but the Devils are sellers that will be happy to get assets back for a pending UFA. Kulikov was a nice player for them this season, but he was not a part of their core. A 3rd or 4th round pick is solid for a guy who signed for just over a million dollars in the offseason.