Mar 1, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Nikolai Kulemin (41) before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins reportedly eyeing Nikolai Kulemin; Benoit Pouliot

When NHL free agency officially begins today at noon, many expect new Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford to be quite the busy man.

While it is unlikely that Rutherford signs any of the Pens unrestricted free agents, he is expected to bring in some talent, namely forwards, today as reports have surfaced that Rutherford would like to bring in as many as four new forwards on the first day of free agency.

A couple of those targets could be Nikolai Kulemin and Benoit Pouliot.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Rutherford is especially high on Kulemin, a close friend of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

The Trib’s Josh Yohe wrote:

NHL teams are free to sign unrestricted free agents at noon, and the Penguins intend on being busy. Among their primary targets is right wing Nikolai Kulemin.

General manager Jim Rutherford — along with numerous people on his staff — possesses a high opinion of the 27-year-old forward.

Kulemin’s agent, Gary Greenstin, confirmed Monday that he held numerous conversations with Rutherford.

“Obviously the Penguins are very interested,” Greenstin said. “But other teams like him, too.”

Kulemin, a former 30-goal scorer, has played his entire six-year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and isn’t expected to return to Toronto following a disappointing nine-goal season.

As for Pouliot, the 27-yer old scored 15 goals last season for the Rangers, his fifth NHL team. Yet while he remains a priority for the Penguins, it is likely that his salary demands could be too high for the Pens.

Either way, the action will get started in just a few hours from now and we will soon find out exactly what Rutherford has up his sleeve.


Tags: Benoit Pouliot Nikolai Kulemin Pittsburgh Penguins

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