Dmitriy Kulikov is no longer a member of the Minnesota Wild. The 33 year old Russian veteran defenseman is moving to the Mile High City in return for $1. In addition to Kulikov, middling goaltending prospect Jared Moe is also headed to Denver.

Kulikov was signed during pre-season of the 22/23 season to a 2 year $3.6m deal ($1.8m AAV) to shake up a poor defensive start. Upon his first glides on the ice he provided immediate impact. Kulikov was instrumental in keeping the Wild a top 5 defensive team all season, and provided some timely offense on the 2nd PP unit. He outplayed his ratings in a major way. His 15 goals put him 6th for all D in goal scoring last season. However, with the summer addition of Travis Dermott who has a lower salary, higher DF, and is RFA, it was becoming clearer and clearer that Kulikov was on the outside looking in. 

It is no secret that Kulikov was available. About a third of the league's GMs received a PM. The ask was a late round pick for a 1 year rental. Unfortunately nothing came to fruition, neither as a useable player or as a cap dump to a team looking to reach the cap floor. 

"We probably don't make the playoffs without Kuli last year. We want to wish him well and thank him again for a tremendous season with us."

The question now is if Kulikov can repeat his performance and propel the Avalanche to a similar situation for 23/24.

The other player in the deal is Jared Moe. Moe was seen as a decent goalie prospect a while ago but had a bad performance in 22-23 for University of Wisconsin in the NCAA. At 24 year old and with younger guys like Dustin Wolf, Daniil Tarasov, Sebastian Cossa signed to ELCs, Moe is too deep in the depth chart to keep a roster spot for. His fate was sealed with the positive development of more goalie prospects like Leevi Merilainen (2 NHL games experience) and the extremely under the radar despite being a 6'8" giant Hugo Ollas who has put consecutive strong seasons in the NCAA for Merrimack. Both have yet to be signed to their NEFHL entry level deals.


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"Future buyout fund" bonus - $750,000 / $10,000,000