The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Nikolai Kulemin, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs
Key stat: Hasn’t scored a goal in 53 days.
Yes, you read that right.
The last time Kulemin lit the lamp was Oct. 22 in a 5-4 win over Montreal. That was his second goal of the season…and it’s still his second goal of the season. Though I guess it will always be the second goal of his season. But you know what I mean. Two goals in 30 games. This from the same breakout performer that scored 30 goals last year.
(This year, he’s on pace for five.)
Kulemin’s goalless streak now sits at 23 games, which has sunk him to 13th on the team in goalscoring. Joey Crabb has more goals than him. Matt Frattin has more goals than him. Heck, Cody Franson has more goals than him, and Franson’s only played in 15 of Toronto’s 30 games.
Now, the reason we’re giving Kulemin the wake-up call is because he’s unlikely to get it elsewhere. Leafs head coach Ron Wilson is adamant about not putting Kulemin in the press box — in fact, he’s not even willing to cut his ice time. Kulemin played almost 15 minutes on Tuesday against Carolina, which was more than six other Toronto forwards.
“Wilson is giving Kulemin top-six ice time for a bottom-six scorer,” wrote Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. “All in the belief that any minute now this nightmare will be over.”
Nope, there doesn’t seem to be wake-up call on the horizon.
Wake up, Nikolai Kulemin. Your team needs you.