John Ferguson, vice-president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Thursday that the club has signed forward Nikolai Kulemin
(koo-LAY-mihn) to a three-year, entry level contract.
The 6-1, 205 pound native of Magnitogorsk, Russia, was the Toronto Maple Leafs' second choice, 44th overall, in the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He won a Silver Medal with Team Russia at the 2006 World Junior Championships and has represented his country at the 2006 and 2007 World Championships; most recently in Moscow, Russia, collecting a Bronze Medal along with three points (two goals, one assist) in nine games.
"Nikolai utilized his powerful skating ability and heavy shot to become one of the Russian Super League's most dominant goal scorers this past season," said Ferguson. "We plan to leave him in Russia to continue his development and envision him playing a significant role in the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs."
This past season Kulemin, 20, played for the Russian Super League (RSL) champions Metallurg Magnitogorsk, collecting 39 points (27 goals, 12 assists) with 42 penalty minutes. He ranked third in the league in regular season goals and 13th in points. His strong play continued in the playoffs where he was named one of the MVP finalists of the RSL Playoffs, collecting 11 points (10 goals, one assist) in 15 games.