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12-03-2006, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by nomorekids View Post
slitty, obviously kulyash's offense is well-documented, but how is his defense? is he bad defensively? responsible? good? i just ask because while his offense intrigues me, i worry about one-dimensional offensive d-men fitting into our system.
An important distinction that should be made about Kulyash's offense is he isn't a Koltsov who just takes off ahead of the forwards, manouvering around opposing players right and left on route to goal. Yes, Kulyash is a good passer and can pull a Kovalchukesque move or two if need be, but that isn't his main distinction. Kulyash's offense primarily consists of perhaps the best slapshot in European hockey, and thus the ability to play the point on the powerplay or to simply wire it from the blueline at even strength. Given the nature of a typical offensive play made by Kulyash, he is rarely left out of position, and is thus, for the most part, reasonably responsible defenseively. In terms of his actual defensive play, its grown to be good by RSL standards and passable at the World Championships. What that precisely equates to at the NHL level is hard to say, but it certainly doesn't hurt that Kulyash is a physical guy.

He will need to work on his positional play, but some intensive coaching in the AHL should make him ready for bottom pairing + powerplay duty in the NHL within his first year in North America. In terms of giving you an idea of how good Kulyash is by comparing him to a player who recently tried his hand at the North American game, Khomitsky is probably the best candidate for such. Kulyash is substantially better than Khomitsky offensively due to his shot and a certain element of razzle dazzle that Khomitsky simply didn't have. Considering that Khomitsky was one of the AHL leaders offensively among defenders before he returned to Russia, I would say that Kulyash's offensive production should not be an issue were he to cross the pond. Khomitsky was, in fact, a little more sound defensively than Kulyash - but on the whole the two were comparable and had about the same level of physical presence. Khomitsky was reportedly fairly dominant defensively at the AHL level as well.

Kulyash may also need to increase the speed at which he lets his slapshot go as he generally has an absolutely huge wind-up with the blade of his stick often starting its arc above his head. Given this information, draw your own conclusions as to just what Kulyash can do for the Preds if he comes over for next season: they are most likely going to be significantly more accurate than my own. I for one am pulling for Kulyash to establish himself as an NHLer... he oozes with still untapped potential and as you can probably infer from my current avatar, he is one of my favourite players.

Last edited by Slitty: 12-03-2006 at 04:59 PM.
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