The Florida Panthers have signed restricted free agent Dimitri Kulikov to a two year deal, pending finalization to the deal.

Kulikov began his career in his homeland Russia with Lokomotiv-2 Yaroslavl in the Pervaya Liga and left his club in November 2008 to sign for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his lone season with Drummondville, Kulikov led all Quebec League blueliners with 62 points in 57 games. After his rookie year with the Voltigeurs, he was drafted by the Florida Panthers 14th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draftand was signed by the Panthers on September 29, 2009.

Despite his age, Kulikov managed to play in 68 games with the Florida Panthers his first season, showing high levels of skill and confidence. Kulikov owns tremendous offensive insticts and boasts plenty of projection in his frame and all-around upside. Dale Tallon, the current Florida Panthers General Manager has expressed that they have very high expectations on the young defenceman. In the 198 games he has played in for the Panthers, Kulikov has 13 goals and 57 assists for 70 points.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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