Could the Leafs send Liles as part of a package to Florida for Kulikov?
One of the players the Maple Leafs have been eying from afar over the past couple of seasons is defenceman Dmitri Kulikov of the Florida Panthers, and Kulikov might just be more available now than he was because of the wreckage of Florida’s early season play.
He’s only 22, but already has four full seasons in the NHL. A couple of problems. He won’t come cheap. He’s in the last year of a contract that comes with a $2.5 million hit and will be looking for a significant pay increase this summer. And he shoots left, with the Leafs more in need of a right-handed shooting blueliner. Like Mike Kostka. Oh, never mind.
Ah yes, what would a trade rumor be without the presence of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
They’re an interesting team to pop up here because on Monday it was reported the Leafs were still trying to trade veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles and were willing to retain much of his salary to get a deal done. Now there’s no indictation whether Florida would have any interest in Liles (though we do know how GM Dale Tallon feels about veteran players), it’s just interesting the timing of the pair of rumors popping up.