2016-17 stats: 12 games, zero goals, zero points, 0.3 relative Fenwick
Age (as of July 1, 2017): 26
Kulikov has been and out of the lineup due to injury this season, making it difficult to get a firm read on him. He’s also played in differing situations over the last few years, sometimes as the partner to a marquee talent on an offensive pairing (as he was with Aaron Ekblad last season) or as a key figure in a matchup pairing.
Pegged as a dynamic offensive defenceman back in his junior days, he hasn’t really been a scorer at the NHL level. He’s certainly competent with the puck and teams keep using him on the man advantage, but he has yet to put up a 50-point season. Defensively, he’s hurt by a lack of strength and reach; at 6’1”, 204 pounds, he’s undersized for his position.
Nevertheless, he is a useful player. He can do a little bit of everything, and while the shot metrics suggest he’s a better fit on the second pairing than the top unit, his versatility makes it easy for coaches to bump him up the depth chart.