Nikolai Kulemin suffered the consequences of seeing his goal production dip from 30 in 2010-11 to seven last season - his pay raise from the Toronto Maple Leafs was a mere $400,000 (all currency U.S.).
The Leafs announced Friday they signed Kulemin, 26, to a two-year contract worth $2.6-million next season and $3-million in 2013-14. His salary was $2.2-million in 2011-12.
While the pay raise may seem odd given Kulemin's decline last season, which could not be pinned on anything definite, it is probably linked to his potential. While he and centre Mikhail Grabovski were unable to keep their chemistry from 2010-11 going last season, the team still expects them to be a formidable second line with winger Clarke MacArthur this fall.
All three players saw their production fall last season, although Kulemin had the biggest drop. He went from 57 points to 28 in 70 games last season, as a broken finger kept him out of the last 12 games of the season.
Kulemin is now the leader on the team roster in games played with the Leafs at 303, which underscores the youth of the team.