Nikolai Kulemin re-signs; avoids arbitration

Not too much of this for Kulemin this season (Photo Credit: AP).

Not too much of this for Kulemin this season (Photo Credit: AP).

The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed winger Nikolai Kulemin to a two-year, estimated $5.6-million contract this morning.  The Leafs avoided the potentially acrimonious arbitration process, signing the Magnitogorsk native to a deal with a modest cap hit of $2.8-million.

Kulemin, a 2006 second round draft pick, struggled mightily prior to a season-ending finger injury last season, posting career lows with seven goals and 28 points in 70 games.  He scored 30 goals for the Maple Leafs in the 2010-2011 season.

The two-year term means Kulemin will be a UFA at deal’s end, as opposed to a “show me” one-year deal which would’ve seen him become an RFA again next off-season, but there’s little doubting this is good value if Kulemin’s offensive game even half rebounds.

With Kulemin re-signed, the remaining RFAs of significance on the Leafs shrink to Ben Scrivens and Cody Franson.

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Michael Stephens has been writing for Maple Leafs Hotstove since 2010, and has featured in the 2010 and 2012 Maple Leaf Annuals. Former Editiorial Intern at The Hockey News. Undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor. Chat me up about all things hockey on twitter @MLHS_Mike