Kulikov (back) is showing progress, as he's been on the ice for informal skates and was present for the first day of training camp Friday, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.

Kulikov has only averaged 61 games per season over the last three years of NHL service time split between the Panthers, Sabres and Jets. The Russian's latest obstacle is making a full recovery from back surgery. When healthy, the hope is that Kulikov will be comfortable doing what he does best -- roughing up the opposition and fearlessly stepping in front of shots to help the goaltender. Kulikov's accumulated 864 hits and 760 blocked shots in 569 career contests at the highest level.

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