Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL (CHL)
Born: October 29, 1990 (18 years old)
Hometown: Lipetsk, Russia
International Scouting Services: 10th
The Hockey News: 11th
Red Line Report: 4th
McKeen's Hockey: 8th
Why the Stars would want him:
If the Stars are looking for the next great offensively talented defenseman, they need to look no further than Kulikov. Making the transition from Russia to the QMJHL at the age of 17, Kulikov led all rookie defensemen in the QMJHL with 62 points (12 goals, 50 assists) in 57 games. He tied for second in scoring among defensemen and ranked 8th among all league defenseman with a plus-34 rating. Was the league's Rookie Defenseman of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Best Professional Prospect and Defenseman of the Year.
He's got good size and is able to take the hit while carrying the puck and has tremendous vision when the puck in on his stick. What's great about his game is that he isn't all offense; his focus is on defense first but he knows when to join the rush and force the opposition into making a mistake. His biggest strength is his puck handling skills, and he's even been compared to Sergei Zubov in some circles.
There are some scouts that also believe he has the ability to immediately make the jump to the NHL next season.
Why the Stars might pass on him:
Once again, it all comes down to who is left on the Stars' draft board and who they have rated higher. Kulikov is a popular pick for the Stars at the 8th spot, even if he's been ranked in the earler teens among the prospects. But the QMJHL is a defensively challenged league and the numbers are inflated a bit there, so it's tough to say just how good his stats really are.
In fact, it's probably going to come down between Kulikov, Ryan Ellis and Oliver Ekman-Larssen and who the Stars have rated highest.