If the Buffalo Sabres fall out of the playoff race before March 1st, a report indicates the Buffalo Sabres will move defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
When the Buffalo Sabres first traded for Dmitry Kulikov, opinion was mixed. He was deemed talented enough to be drafted 14th overall in 2009 by the Florida Panthers, but this had since been countered by his inability to develop as projected.
Regardless, while the Sabres shouldn’t be criticized for taking a calculated gamble on Kulikov, he apparently does not have long left in Western New York. As per a report from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the defenseman will likely be gone by the March 1st trade deadline.
In many respects, this is probably a smart move by the Sabres. Apart from the fact the 26-year old has failed to have the desired impact — when he hasn’t been out of the lineup dealing with lingering back issues — he is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent after this season.
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Having said that, LeBrun’s report does come with one caveat. Kulikov will apparently only be moved, if the Sabres are out of the playoff race.
In that respect — mathematically at least — the Sabres are still challenging for the postseason, currently sitting eight points out of eighth place in the East, with 32 games remaining. However, as we wrote on Friday, they are at the bottom of the Conference heading into Saturday’s schedule and have been unable to perform with any real degree of consistency.
Understandably, some people may wonder why any team would want to take a gamble on Kulikov, especially given his aforementioned issues. In addition, there are still questions about his ability to grasp the intricacies of the game.
Regardless, LeBrun believes there will still be takers, with the Russian being perceived as a nice consolation prize for teams that miss out on Kevin Shattenkirk. Either way, it’s probably best for the Sabres to move on from the Kulikov experiment, as they continue to rebuild towards a better future.
How do you think Kulikov has performed, since arriving in Buffalo? Further, do you want to see the Sabres trade him, or would you prefer they attempt to renegotiate his contract? Share your thoughts in the comments section.