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Sabres acquire defenseman Dmitri Kulikov in deal with Panthers

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The host Sabres made a big splash before the final day of the NHL draft got underway Saturday morning, acquiring top-four defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the Florida Panthers.

The Sabres also got the No. 33 overall pick while the Panthers received Mark Pysyk as well as picks 38 and 89 in the draft. Kulikov has one more year on his contract, worth $4.5 million, and will be a UFA in July 2017.

Buffalo drafted Swedish two-way center Rasmus Asplund with the 33rd pick, while the Panthers used the 38th pick to select LW Adam Mascherin, a prolific scorer with Kitchener in the OHL.

The Panthers signed acquired and signed Keith Yandle earlier this week, making Kulikov expendable.

Sabres GM Tim Murray was vocal about his desire to acquire a left-handed, top-four defenseman and was believed to be talking to Anaheim about Cam Fowler. But his focus then turned to Kulikov, who had a goal and 16 assists last season.