Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov remains in Russia as the restricted free agent continues to negotiate a new contract with the team, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald. Panthers GM Dale Tallon has been in constant talks with the young defenseman's agent, yet Kulikov is reportedly still in Russia as he awaits a new contract.
Kulikov played with Yaroslavl Lokamotiv during the lockout and continues to remain in his hometown as negotiations for a new contract threaten to linger into the coming season. Drafted No. 14 overall in the 2009 NHL draft, Kulikov quickly established himself as one of the premiere young defensemen in the NHL after making his debut just months after being selected.
In 58 games in 2011-2012, Kulikov registered four goals and 24 assists, with one assist in seven postseason games. The defenseman earned a $900,000 base salary in the final year of his entry-level contract.
"I'm a big Dmitry fan,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "I thought he really did a good job. He's very young in his development. Defensemen take a little time to develop, same as goalies. .-.-. He's really on track and is a player we envision having a long and successful NHL career.''
The Panthers are also without defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who is still recovering from a surgically repaired shoulder.