The Edmonton Oilers have completed the depth move many figured was in the cards, landing defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in a trade with the New Jersey Devils.
In exchange for the left hander, Edmonton will send a conditional fourth-round draft selection back to New Jersey, which will be upgraded to a third in the event the Oilers win a round in the postseason, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The deal was briefly held up by an immigration issue, as Kulikov's passport was nearing its expiration date.
Kulikov fills a need for the Oilers, who are a little short on the left side of their defense core. He figures to compete with Kris Russell and Caleb Jones for second or third-pairing minutes behind lead dog Darnell Nurse, and could possibly form a defensive-minded shutdown pair with Adam Larsson.
A complete non-factor from an offensive perspective, Kulikov is stuck on zero goals with two assists in 38 games. However, his underlying numbers based on shot- and scoring chance- share have seen a reasonable uptick based on previous seasons. A 54.43 percent xGF is a particularly positive stat to take to the bank for Oilers general manager Ken Holland.
Edmonton is expected to be quiet in the lead-up to the deadline after spending several future assets before the freeze last season before bowing out in the play-in round.
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