Kulemin

 

Last season, the Sedin-Sedin-Burrows line was the most productive in the NHL with 120 points. Even fans in Toronto might not have realized that the next most productive line in the NHL was Kulemin-Grabovski-MacArthur with 110. This Toronto trio beat out some of the more famous trios such as Lucic-Krejci-Horton (107), Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry, and (105) Hartnell-Briere-Leino (91).  The leading goal scorer from this Toronto line was none other than the number 44 overall selection in the 2006 entry draft, Nikolai Kulemin.

 

The year Kulemin was drafted was just after his rookie season in Metallurg of the Russian Super League. Evgeni Malkin led the team in scoring that year and Kulemin managed only 13 points in 31 games. After Malkin’s departure, Kulemin broke out and scored 27 goals, which tied him for third most in the RSL.  Kulemin was still only 20 years old, but was establishing himself as a goal scorer in one of the toughest Russian leagues. In 13 playoff games that year, he’d score nine goals.

 

After one more season for Metallurg, Kulemin was ready to cross the pond. He skated only five games with the Toronto Marlies before sticking with the Leafs. In the 73 NHL games he saw, Kulemin scored 31 points, good enough for ninth best on his team.

 

In Russia, Kulemin played a one-dimensional game which was all about goal scoring. That year he scored nine goals in 13 playoff games? He was only able to manage one assist. In North America, that style of play wouldn’t get him very far, so he worked on adjusting, and in 2009-10 Kulemin strung together a 16-20-36 season in 78 games played.

 

This is significant for two reasons. The first is that Kulemin shows for the second year in a row that he can play the majority of the NHL season without missing major time to injury. For fantasy owners, this information is quite valuable. Second, this marked the first time in Kulemin’s career since his rookie campaign with Metallurg that he tallied more assists than goals.

In 2010-11, Kulemin broke out, scoring 30 goals and 57 points. Nikolai was showing significant progress and his line’s production was a major reason why the Maple Leafs were pushing for a postseason berth toward the end of the year.  Mikhail Grabovski is signed for next season, but a major catalyst on this line, Clarke MacArthur, is looking for his extension. If Toronto can keep this line intact for next season, fantasy owners and Leafs fans should certainly be rejoicing.

 

Kulemin fills out a 6’1” 220 lb. frame quite nicely and as a result is very strong in front of the net. Nikolai is great at picking up scraps and finding creative ways of scoring down low, but also carries a very accurate shot from the perimeter. If Kulemin has a clear look, more often than not he’ll find a way to hit the twine. With that being said, MacArthur is a key component to this line. MacArthur had truckloads of confidence this past season and displayed great hands on a number of occasions. MacArthur is often the one creating the space for Grabovski or Kulemin, so his contract for the coming season will have a major impact on the output for the other two members of his line.

 

With JS Giguere’s contract expiring and the team likely moving in another direction, the Maple Leafs will have $6 million to re-allocate. How much of this money will be available for current players like MacArthur will likely depend on which direction they decide to take in goal. Will it be James Reimer (also a free agent) or Jonas Gustavsson or will they look for outside help? Whichever direction they go, I believe the odds are strong that the Leafs will re-sign MacArthur, who scored the second most points on the team.

 

With Kulemin’s line intact for the coming season, we should see a slight increase from his production last season. Don’t expect 70 points out of him, but 30-35 goals and 65 points is right about where he should be. If your league counts hits, you might want to know that Kulemin also had 101 hits last year, which put him in company with Jarome Iginla and Mike Richards. In most leagues, left wing is the toughest position to acquire, so Kulemin may be a perfect depth addition in 2011-12.


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bigmamadog317 said:

letangerang58
ouch One of the guys in my pool had all 3 of these guys and got them off the free agent pool, they kicked my ass several times.
May 26, 2011
Votes: +0

shaun b said:

shingy
Confused Did anyone read the last paragraph which perfectly states what I believe to be the message of the piece. That he expects Nikolai Kulemin to post approx 65 points next year. Great piece. Someone mentioned earlier, you can read about the top players anytime, when do you get pieces on the 60 pt players, not often enough.
What's with some of you guys??? Give up the nit picking and stupid analysis of things that have nothing to do with the main message. Some of you obviously enjoy trying to make other people look wrong I suppose. It's not having the desired effect. Who cares about the Sedins and how many points they really scored etc....We know all that, what we don't enough about are the lesser known players.
May 25, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeremy Wark said:

jer_33
Kuley I think the Kulemin-Grabovski tandem were what really drove their line. No slight to MacArthur whom I really like, but I do think that he would be the most interchangable piece on that line. Chemistry goes a long way toward consistency, and as long as Grabs and Kuley are sharing ice-time next season - you should expect similar or better production IMO.

And Sedin whining aside, Kulemin put up 30 goals which puts him in the top 25-30 goal scorers in the league last season. From a positional perspective, his numbers put him in the top 10 for left-wing goal scorers, and top 15-20 left-wing point getters.

If you're expecting 30 goals and 60-65 points out of Kulemin next season, he's no depth addition - he would be selected as a 3rd or 4th forward.

May 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
the Sedins Yah- i didnt comprehend what the writer ment by 'lines'.I figured the writer was drunk posting (been there) or from another planet (dated those) The fact that the Leafs 2nd line finished 2nd overall... shows what a useless stat that is in todays NHL. Burrows missed alot of time and took awhile to get his game back.Not to mention he is one of their top PK'ers and therefore Samuelsson would always come out for the next shift with the Sedins.
For fantasy hockey- you draft individuals, not lines- and how many of us have been burned by picking the next scrub to line up with Crosby-only to dump him asap.
Opportunity is everything- if the Leafs go out and sign Richards and Leino (dont all UFA's go there with a'ihaveaconnectiontosouthernontario' discount?)then the chances of that line staying intact drop, their icetime as individuals also drops and likely their point totals.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

back check said:

back check
not a star, but a good investment "Typically in a fantasy draft, the first 5 or 6 rounds are pretty predictable. The bottom rounds are where you win your pools and that's what I'm trying to do for you guys. Give you feedback on some of the players that will be available in the mid-to-bottom rounds."

This is golden. I actually own Kulemin, but this is exactly the kind of stuff I love to see from this site. There are literally dozens of fantasy talking heads who tell me that Ovechkin is a great guy to pick up in my pool. Sometimes the more insitful ones will tell me Giroux had a break out year. Fankly, any half dedicated poolie can find this info. Picking up on the KGM line (sounds kind of like "KBG"???) is great insight. I had a chance to bag McArthur in a trade last season and passed because I had little faith in Toronto collectively and didn't think McArthur coould keep up the pace. I did have Kulemin because of the shortage of LW options available. If I had read something like this, maybe I would have been more tempted to take the risk in that trade, and I certainly appreciate Kulemin's value more now. Keep up the great work Tim! - back check
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Solid Another great piece.

(You should jettison that first paragraph though - indeed, misleading - and once a reader's head starts spinning, they might not be able to fully grasp that value present in the rest of this article. Mentioning that these three Leafs played together for XX% of the season, __th most of any line, would have been a good enough intro.)

A great walk-through Kulemin's short career! Good job touching on his point improvements.

Great note by horrorfan on his SH%. 17.3% for the season is well above his previous two seasons of 11%. It suggests he had some luck finding the back-of-the-net. I would temper expectations as well. If anything, we should look for an improvement because he only played 17min/game - and maybe that will rise.

We'll see. I'd peg him at 60pts.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Tim Lucarelli said:

duballstar014
... Regarding the lines - yes, the calculation is any time that three are on the ice together. As I mentioned, the Sedins actually had two different combinations in the top 8, one with Burrows and one with Kesler. Obviously, both Sedins are capable of hitting 100 points and at the end of my article I'm saying that Kulemin is due for 65 points the coming year.

I guess it can be misleading since everyone interprets it their own way, but the reason I personally included it (and found it interesting) was because these are three guys who are not typically valued highly, yet could play a very big role on your fantasy rosters. Am I saying because of this one stat that you should draft Kulemin over Bobby Ryan? Hardly. What I'm saying is that these guys made up one of the deadliest lines in the NHL last year and they're going to be relied upon heavily next year too. Maybe I made the wrong assumption thinking that you guys would care about that particular stat, but for me, if I KNOW that my player is on one of the best lines in the league, I KNOW that he's going to be on the ice in key minutes and get tons of PP time.

Kulemin is only 1/3 of his line but he had the most goals of the line. He is also playing more of a team game too which had him see almost equal output of goals and assists. Did he have a high shooting percentage? Yes, but if you watched some of his goals, you can tell the guy knows what he's doing with the puck. I see him as a 60-65 point player who can also string together a couple 70+ seasons over his career.

Typically in a fantasy draft, the first 5 or 6 rounds are pretty predictable. The bottom rounds are where you win your pools and that's what I'm trying to do for you guys. Give you feedback on some of the players that will be available in the mid-to-bottom rounds.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +2

bluck said:

bluck
Source. I'd take this info with a grain of salt... Looking at your source weber and suter were more productive scoring line wise then datsyuk, zetterberg, st louis and stamkos. Granted Toronto's line had a decent season but in the grand scheme of things I don't think you can even put them in the same sentence as the Sedins. Individual Stats play a much a larger role and you can look at J Jokinen as pretty much comparable to Kulemin stat wise. I just don't see the relevance of the article all be it very well written.
Bluck
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Rob Myatt said:

robmyatt
Larry - (sedins) I believe the stat only counts the times when the line combinations was exclusively S-S-B. There were many shifts the sedins scored without burrows (samuelsson, kesler, raymond, etc), I miss read it at first too, thinking immediately the sedins had 198 points between them alone.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Temper expectations? Tim, I mentioned this in the forum topic on him, but thought I'd share here to get your feedback:

"Another reason to be careful on expectations is that he had a 17.3% shooting percentage this season, equivalent of joint 6th in the league, based on certain minimum conditions (it seems) set on NHL.com:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20112ALLAASAll&sort=shootingPctg&viewName=shooting

This is fairly high (would be top 10 in 09/10 and top 15 in 08/09), so he might need to increase his shot totals if we can expect another 30+ goal season. Furthermore, he and Lucic were the only players (who played a full season) who had 30+ goals and less than 200 SOG."

However, I agree that he would still be a valuable depth addition if you count hits as well. Even 25/25 with 100 hits is pretty solid. He was a FA pick up early in the season for me, so it was a pleasant surprise.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Lines I also think it is even strength only, and also Burrows missed the first month of the season so any points for the Sedins in October did not count here. So that number of 120 would likely have been much higher if Burrows were healthy for a full season.
May 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Tim Lucarelli said:

duballstar014
Sedins Larry, I didn't want to delve too far into the Sedins, but you're right. The Sedins are unreal. They have two separate line combinations in the top 8!

Here's where I took my information. It's straight from the Fantasy Tools on this own website.
May 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
numbers are off not sure what you mean by 'points' but the Sedin line had alot more than 120 scoring points. lost me 289% there! smilies/smiley.gif
May 22, 2011
Votes: +2
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