Well, the Minnesota Wild are making it two days in a row where they are setting up their 2022-23 roster and making a much more clear picture as to what the lineup is going to look like.
Announced by the team on Wednesday afternoon, the Wild have traded defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to the Anaheim Ducks. What did they get in return? Nothing at all.
TRADE— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 31, 2022
We have traded Dmitry Kulikov ➡️ Anaheim Ducks for future considerations. #mnwild
Kulikov has just one year left on his contract that carries a cap hit of $2.25 million and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer at the age of 32. While at times the addition of the gritty defender made sense, as he somehow provided a new sense of offense to his game at the start of his first season in Minnesota last year, the year took its toll and he ended up being expendable. He scored seven goals and 24 points in 80 games last season — at least he stayed healthy.
This move was clearly made to do two things: To clear cap space for any future moves, and to open up the roster spot for Calen Addison to walk right into camp knowing he has more job security than before. With Kulikov gone and Jon Merrill still recovering from an injury, Addison will surely be on the blue line to open up the season in October.
The 22-year-old defenseman should have arguably hung around the Wild for the entirety of last season, but because of the triple free agent signings of Kulikov, Merrill, and Alex Goligoski last summer, he remained down in the AHL. While he developed in the minors, he ended up scoring seven goals and 34 points in 43 games, leading all Iowa defensemen in scoring. Addison did get more of a taste in the NHL, playing 15 games and scoring four points, but now he should be up here full-time. We hope he never has to see Iowa ever again.