Dmitriy Kulikov

Dmitriy Kulikov

Russian hockey player, defenseman of the NHL club Florida Panthers
Date of Birth: 29.10.1990
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Dmitry Kulikov
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Junior Career
  4. NHL Career

Biography of Dmitry Kulikov

Dmitry Kulikov is a Russian hockey player and defenseman for the NHL club "Florida Panthers". He was drafted by the Sunrise team in 2009, being the 14th overall pick. Before joining the NHL, Kulikov played in the QMJHL for the "Drummondville Voltigeurs". In 2010, he won a silver medal in the World Championship in Germany as a member of the Russian national team.

Early Life and Career

Dmitry Kulikov was born on October 29, 1990, in Lipetsk, Russia. His parents, Irina and Vladimir Kulikov, introduced him to ice skating at a young age. Vladimir, a former hockey player himself, put Dmitry and his twin sister Alina on skates when they were just 3 years old. Despite being younger than the other kids by 2 years, Dmitry stood out among the young hockey players. He started off with figure skating until the age of 5 when his father transferred him to a hockey section, even though the age limit for enrollment was 7 years old.

Until the age of 12, Kulikov played hockey in Lipetsk under the guidance of coach Yuri Krovopuskov. However, he later moved to Yaroslavl and trained at a sports boarding school for a year. Despite not being recognized by the Yaroslavl coaches as a talented player, Kulikov joined the youth team "Rus", where he caught the attention of coaches from the junior and youth national teams.

Junior Career

Kulikov eventually returned to Yaroslavl as a player for the local "Lokomotiv" farm club. With little chance of breaking into the main team, he decided to move to Canada in 2008 to play for the QMJHL club "Drummondville Voltigeurs". In his first season, Kulikov scored 62 points (12 goals and 50 assists) and received two individual awards - Rookie of the Year and Best Defenseman of the league. His club also won the President's Cup. Dmitry became the only Russian player selected in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft, being picked 14th overall by the "Florida Panthers". According to Scott Luce, the head of the Florida's junior department, Kulikov could have strengthened the team in the 2009-10 season.

After playing 9 games in the NHL, "Florida" had the option to send Kulikov back to "Drummondville" for additional experience. However, the team decided to keep him, as Kulikov expressed that playing in the NHL was his dream, and he had no intention of playing in the KHL.

NHL Career

On October 2, 2009, Kulikov made his debut for the "Panthers" in a game against the "Chicago Blackhawks". He quickly adapted to the team's game and remained with them throughout his first season. Kulikov played 68 games, scoring 16 points. The team's season was unremarkable, finishing in 28th place in the regular championship. However, Kulikov's successful debut season in the NHL caught the attention of the coaches of the national team. He was selected to play in the Euro Hockey Tour "Hockey Games LG" and later included in the extended and final roster for the World Championship in Germany.

During the tournament, Kulikov played 9 games and contributed with 2 assists. Despite high expectations, the Russian team finished as runners-up, losing to the Czech Republic in the final. Kulikov is known for his ability to play both offense and defense, his proficiency in power play situations, and his strong shot. The Western media often compares him to Sergei Gonchar and Andrei Markov due to his aggressive playing style.

Overall, Dmitry Kulikov's career has been marked by early success and recognition both at the junior and professional levels. He continues to be a prominent player for the "Florida Panthers" in the NHL.