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Oilers land Dmitry Kulikov in trade with Devils

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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. 

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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.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 21: New Jersey Devils Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (70) skates during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils on March 21, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dmitry Kulikov is off to Edmonton. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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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