Nikolai Kulemin re-signs in Toronto for two years

Ryan Fancey
July 20 2012 07:00AM

According to Darren Dreger, the Leafs have signed Kulemin to a new two year deal worth $2.8 million per season.

After going ice cold for the 2011-12 campaign, Kulemin still managed to get a raise from his expiring $2.35 million dollar hit over the last two years.

However, if you look at his entire body of work over the past two seasons, which included a break out offensively in 2010-11, it's tough to argue this contract. The cap hit is peanuts, and Kulemin's a legit NHLer who's responsible on both sides of the puck for the most part. I like it.

The Hockey Reference table:

Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW S S% TOI ATOI
2008-09 22 TOR NHL 73 15 16 31 12 -8 18 13 2 0 1 129 11.6 1008 13:48
2009-10 23 TOR NHL 78 16 20 36 14 0 16 15 0 1 3 145 11.0 1277 16:22
2010-11 24 TOR NHL 82 30 27 57 24 7 26 24 5 1 5 173 17.3 1421 17:19
2011-12 25 TOR NHL 70 7 21 28 9 2 6 6 1 0 1 107 6.5 1066 15:13
Career     NHL 303 68 84 152 59 1 66 58 8 2 10 554 12.3 4771 15:45

Kulemin, as we all know, scored 30 goals two years ago and just seven last season as his shooting percentage took a wicked tumble. Possible reasons why have been explained on this blog before.

Kulemin re-signs. Related posts:

The Cliff's Notes is that Kulemin is a positive play driver on the wing with Mikhail Grabovski. He can still be a force offensively, but probably not as much as we'd like. His powerplay time took a tumble last year and that ought to continue. Without the powerplay minutes, he can't be expected to break 20 goals without some real cozy percentages.

But that's still pretty good for a 2nd-3rd line hybrid player, and at his price.

A lot of people will look at the cap hit, which increases from $2.35M to $2.8M as a fairly modest raise. The percentage of the salary cap that Kulemin is worth is almost identical to what it was before. Using @draglikepull's cap inflator calculator:

  Salary Cap hit Adjusted
2010-11 $2,500,000.00 $2,350,000.00 $2,904,000.00
2011-12 $2,200,000.00 $2,350,000.00 $2,770,000.00
2012-13 $2,600,000.00 $2,800,000.00 $2,800,000.00
2013-14 $3,000,000.00 $2,800,000.00 ??

The raise in "hockey dollars" is only about $30K, something you can expect both sides at the negotiating table kept in perspective. Kulemin costs the Leafs just as much as he did before. He was a bargain 30-goal scorer one year and an overpaid 7-goal scorer the next, so somewhere in that middle is a hockey player worth his contract.

At 26, the potential to have a breakout season offensively is probably past, but he'll be a meaningful contributor in Toronto for the next two years.

8cea4e8f4ec20c8718c64e8b5900cd19
I think I'm finally over game seven.
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#1 Danny Gray
July 20 2012, 07:28AM
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YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

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#2 Danny Gray
July 20 2012, 07:29AM
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Although this buys us none of his UFA years. Bye Fingers crossed this means bye bye to Lombardi.

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#3 Chemmy
July 20 2012, 10:32AM
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Kulemin is likely a 15G lock for both of these seasons, though with the arrival of JVR and his potential long term stay on the third line that should temper expectations.

I like that our third line might be capable of driving possession (especially against weak comp) and chipping in some scoring.

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#4 Danny Gray
July 20 2012, 10:42AM
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@Chemmy

I would absolutely love to see Kulemi-Kadri-Frattin just decimate middling to weak competition. Give Grabbo-JVR-Mac the toughest comp and shelter the shit out of Lupul-Whomever-Kessel.

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