Solid two-way center with good size and skating ability. Makes good reads in the offensive zone but needs to continue to add strength to his frame.
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May 2023 – In his rookie AHL campaign this year, Kulich tallied 24 goals and 46 points in 62 games, which ranked him fifth among Rochester American players and first among U20 players with the club. As an 18-year-old, his jump to the AHL in 2022-2023 was quite advanced. His development has shown excellent signs, and his success has continued throughout Rochester’s ongoing AHL playoff run. He missed the start of the postseason due to injury but returned for Game Three against Syracuse with his team down 2-0 in the series. He scored a goal in his playoff debut, then followed it with one goal and one assist in Game Four and another goal in Game Five, helping Rochester stave off elimination three times in the best-of-five series to advance to the North Division Finals. The Americans are slated to play Toronto in the next round. At the 2023 World Junior Championship in December, Kulich was among the best players for Team Czechia, scoring seven goals and nine points in seven games. His team won Group A, reached overtime of the gold medal game against Team Canada, and won the silver medal. Kulich scored one of just two goals for Team Czechia to help tie the final game in the third period. As a result of his assertive play with the puck, excellent use of his speed in two-way situations, and timely goal-scoring, Kulich was named to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team along with fellow forwards Connor Bedard and Logan Cooley. 2022-2023 has been an elite year for last year’s 28th-overall selection. Kevin Wong
July 2022 – The Buffalo Sabres have selected Kulich with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
May 2022 – Kulich boosted his draft stock with a stellar showing at the U18 World Championships, tallying nine goals and and two assists through six games to earn tournament MVP honors. He showed flashes of offensive potential playing against men in his native Czechia this season but he was really able to show off his skills against his peers on the international stage with his shot proving to be a dangerous weapon. It’s important not to make too much of small sample sizes but Kulich’s performance at the U18s should make him a consideration for teams in the back half of the first round. Nick Richard
April 2022 – Kulich spent the majority of his draft-1 year bouncing between Pirati Chomutov’s U17 and U20 teams before being loaned to his current team, HC Energie Karlovy Vary of the Czechia Extraliga. This year, Kulich has produced 14 points in 49 games for Karlovy Vary. That total currently leads all draft-eligible players playing in the Czechia Extraliga.
Kulich plays a smart, quick 200-foot game as a center playing against men. His best tool is his skating ability, often relying on smooth crossovers and good edge work to generate speed. He utilizes his speed in the transition game, often looking to carry the puck himself from his own end to the offensive zone. When he does not have the puck, Kulich uses his hockey IQ to scan the ice for the soft areas of the ice, then enters in anticipation of a pass from his teammates. When watching Kulich, he takes pride in his defensive game, constantly in position to block passing lanes as well as attack opposing players using an active stick to break up play. While Kulich plays a smart defensive game, there are many times when he gets outmuscled by opposing players, whether in front of the net or in the corner battling for the puck. In the offensive zone, Kulich tends to play around the front of the net looking for tips or to control the puck down low. Just like the defensive zone, adding more strength would immensely improve his net-front presence and allow him to gain inside position on bigger defenders. Evaluating the rest of Kulich’s offensive game has been a slight challenge given poor play from his teammates limiting his chances. However, when Kulich has the puck on his stick, he looks to stickhandle past defenders before wiring a shot on net. Kulich could use some work on his vision and passing ability. At times he attempts to be too creative with his passes, which results in him turning over the puck. Ultimately Kulich has the potential to be an impactful, speedy middle-six center if he can add more strength to his large frame. Zach Szweras