The Edmonton Oilers have added some defensive depth at the deadline, acquiring Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils. The Oilers will send a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick that will become a third if Edmonton wins a playoff round.
Kulikov, 30, has been arguably the Devils’ best defenseman in his own end this season and has played more than 700 games in his NHL career. He will no longer offer much offense—he has just two points in 38 games—but is a nice addition to an Oilers team that needs to keep the puck out of their end and in the hands of their talented forwards.
The veteran can play the penalty kill and add some physicality, likely skating beside Adam Larsson in something of a shutdown pair. Kulikov is on a one-year deal with a salary of $1.15MM, adding affordability to effectiveness. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
For the Devils, it’s all about collecting assets at this point after a disappointing season. The team has some nice pieces coming, but the overall depth of the organization just hasn’t been good enough. A mid-round pick by itself isn’t going to change that, but it’s another small step towards building the full system out.