Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Nikolai Kulemin Good As Gone?

June 7th, 2010 by Mark Ritter Leave a reply »
Listening to the latest TSN broadcast Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke chimed in on the future of restricted free agent Nikolai Kulemin and it wasn’t pretty for Kulemin.

Kulemin, who stands 6’1 and weighs in at 225 pounds, scored a career high 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points—third best on an undermanned Leafs squad.

Given the Leafs lack of depth up front, head coach Ron Wilson had little choice but to use the talented Russian on the first and second line for most of the season, a promotion that Burke not only feels Kulemin didn’t earn, but is refusing to pay for going forward.

Said Burke on the topic of re-signing Kulemin: “No one would say Nikolai Kulemin is a first line winger, and I am not paying for a guy who earned it by default.”

Clearly, there is a huge gap in what Burke is willing to pay Kulemin and what Kulemin and his agent are asking for—believed to be anywhere from $3 million or more per season.

The reality is, Burke doesn’t see Kulemin as a first line guy, which leads me to believe he fully intends to either make a trade for a first line winger and/or make a sig ...

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