Former Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said he was ‘surprised’ that he was dealt to Buffalo at the draft, writes George Richards of the Miami Herald. Kulikov knew there was a chance he could be moved but hadn’t heard that the Sabres were one of the teams that was interested in him. Kulikov told Richards that he was excited for the move and also noted that there were times in the past he wanted to be traded:
“I’m excited to change the scenery a little bit, go on to a new team. It felt right for some reason. After being here so many years … There were times I wanted Florida to trade me, then we drafted some good players and the team started to turn around and it was fun, so, at that point, I wanted to stay. But when the trade came, it felt like a good opportunity for me to step up my game.”
Kulikov is entering the final year of a three year, $13MM contract he signed back in the 2014 offseason and will undoubtedly be pushing to improve upon a one goal, 16 assist effort from last year. He’s likely to start next season in a top four role with the Sabres.
Other tidbits from the Atlantic Division:
- Also from Richards’ column, Panthers blueliner Steven Kampfer is fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. Kampfer noted he had been playing through pain since December and is now pain free. Kampfer will likely be in a heated battle for a roster spot at training camp as Florida has nine defensemen that could conceivably make a push for a space on the opening night roster.
- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that talks continue between the Senators and RFA defender Cody Ceci and that they are looking at two and six year deals (Twitter links). Ceci had a career high 10 goals and 26 points in 75 games with Ottawa while averaging 19:18 per game.
- NHL.com reports that Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has been named captain of Sweden’s entry into next month’s World Cup of Hockey. It will be Zetterberg’s 13th appearance internationally for his home country. As their depth chart currently stands, he will likely be in a battle for a middle six spot in Sweden’s lineup.