Florida Panthers Draft Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov

The Florida Panthers drafted defenseman Dmitry Kulikov with their first round pick (14th overall) in this years NHL draft.  Kulikov is only 18 years old which means he would not appear in an Amerks uniform until at least the 2010-2011 season.  The 2008-2009 season in the QMJHL with Drummondville was his first in North America.  He moved to North America to learn the game with the goal of playing in the NHL.

Kulikov will be competing with Keaton Ellerby and Jason Garrison for a spot on the Panthers roster out of training camp in September.  It’s not likely that Kulikov will be ready for the NHL, but it was draft day so Scott Luce hyped him up.  That’s what you’re supposed to do, sell the player you just drafted in the first round.

If the Amerks can get a veteran player on defense next season it will help add some stability to a solid blue line.  It’s rumored that former Amerk Doug Janik could be returning.

The defensive core for the Rochester Americans includes Rory Fitzpatrick, Keaton Ellerby, Jason Garrison, Michael Caruso, Matt Duffy, and Jordan Henry.  Peter Aston and Luke Beaverson will also be competing for a spot on the roster.

The only piece left will be getting some players who can score some goals.

From Steve Gortens Sun-Sentenial blog:

Kulikov said his goal is to play for the Panthers — NEXT SEASON. You expect most first-round picks to at least say that. But Scott Luce, the Panthers’ director of amateur scouting, said that’s very possible. If not, he’ll spend a second season in Quebec.

“I think [coach Pete] DeBoer is going to be pleasantly surprised with what we have in the package for him in training camp,” Luce said of Kulikov after his selection. “He’s not necessarily going to make the team, but he’s going to challenge for a spot.”

There’s a lot more on Kulikov available at the link above.

Here’s the complete list of first round picks typed up by The World of Junior Hockey:

1 (1) John Tavares C New York Islanders London
2 (2) Victor Hedman D Tampa Bay Lightning Modo
3 (3) Matt Duchene C Colorado Avalanche Brampton
4 (4) Evander Kane C Atlanta Thrashers Vancouver
5 (5) Brayden Schenn C Los Angeles Kings Brandon
6 (6) Oliver Ekman Larsson D Phoenix Coyotes Leksand
7 (7) Nazem Kadri C Toronto Maple Leafs London
8 (8) Scott Glennie RW Dallas Stars Brandon
9 (9) Jared Cowen D Ottawa Senators Spokane
10 (10) Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson LW Edmonton Oilers Timra
11 (11) Ryan Ellis D Nashville Predators Windsor
12 (12) Calvin De Haan D New York Islanders Oshawa
13 (13) Zack Kassian RW Buffalo Sabres Peterborough
14 (14) Dmitry Kulikov D Florida Panthers Drummondville
15 (15) Peter Holland C Anaheim Ducks Guelph
16 (16) Nick Leddy D Minnesota Wild Eden Prairie
17 (17) David Rundblad D St. Louis Blues Skelleftea
18 (18) Louis Leblanc C Montreal Canadiens Omaha
19 (19) Chris Kreider C New York Rangers Andover
20 (20) Jacob Josefson C New Jersey Devils Djurgarden
21 (21) John Moore D Columbus Blue Jackets Chicago
22 (22) Jordan Schroeder C Vancouver Canucks U Of Minnesota
23 (23) Tim Erixon D Calgary Flames Skelleftea
24 (24) Marcus Johansson C Washington Capitals Farjestad
25 (25) Jordan Caron RW Boston Bruins Rimouski
26 (26) Kyle Palmieri RW/C Anaheim Ducks USA U-18
27 (27) Philippe Paradis C Carolina Hurricanes Shawinigan
28 (28) Dylan Olsen D Chicago Blackhawks Camrose
29 (29) Carter Ashton RW Tampa Bay Lightning Lethbridge
30 (30) Simon Despres D Pittsburgh Penguins Saint John