The New York Islanders lost the fourth line winger Nikolai Kulemin after surgery to repair damage from a hit during a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, November 7th. He will likely miss the rest of the season. The Islanders noted via a press release and Twitter that his surgery today was successful in treating an “upper-body injury.” The type and extent of the injury have not been released.
New York Islanders Nikolai Kulemin Out For Six Months Following Surgery
Nikolay Kulemin Suffers Upper Body Injury
During that game, Kulemin was hit from behind by the Oilers Eric Gryba. Kulemin crumpled to the ice and rose wincing. The pain evident in his limp left arm. In addition, Gryba got a two minute boarding minor on the play. Kulemin favored his left arm and shoulder as he left the ice. He did not return to play in the game.
— Brendan Burke (@brendanmburke) November 13, 2017
Given that Kulemin is a consistent underperformer, he is unlikely to play if the Islanders make the playoffs. He has 79 points in 248 games. In his first season with the Islanders, Kulemin produced 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 82 games. However, his numbers declined in each subsequent year. In 2016-17 he tallied only 23 points, (12 goals, 11 assists) in 72 games. Kulemin currently has the second lowest time on ice (TOI) for the Islanders at 9:26.
The decline in performance and heavy cap hit indicate that he might have suited up for the Islanders for the final time. Kulemin signed a four year, $16.75 million contract in 2014. That season was the high mark for Kulemin and the Islanders, as he produced his highest points total and the Islanders reached the playoffs after a long drought. Kulemin also has the distinction of scoring the game-winning goal in the Islanders final game at Nassau Memorial Coliseum.
The injury to Kulemin gave a call-up for Joshua Ho-Sang from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.