Kulikov is coming off a horrendous season in Buffalo, but has years of previously solid performance with the Florida Panthers in his career. He was expected to move into a top four role in Buffalo, but won’t be required to do the same in Winnipeg. Though the Jets did recently buy out Mark Stuart, Toby Enstrom is set to return and Josh Morrissey is ready for an even larger role.
By going after Kulikov, the Jets have bought a huge bounce-back candidate that could help their defense once again be among the deepest groups in the league. With the right-side depth of Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba they have three pairs that can play against nearly anyone in the league. That depth could come in handy if they want to get into the trade market, though their forward group also remains a deep group. In net, they’ve been linked heavily to Steve Mason, who should be able to form at least an average tandem with Connor Hellebuyck.