Nikolai Kulemin was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. From Magnitogorsk, Russia, he played for his home team until the end of the 2007-08 season. He signed a three-year entry level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in May 2007, but spent the 2007-08 season with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk Steelers, who he helped to win the Russian Super League Championship. He was also named the Russian Super League MVP that same year. He represented Russia at the 2004 World Junior U18 Championships (gold medal winners), 2006 World Junior Championships (silver medal winners), 2006 World Championships and 2007 World Championships (bronze medal winners). He made his NHL debut on October 9, 2008 against the Detroit Red Wings, where he scored his first goal. Not only was that his first ever NHL goal, but it also made him the first player to make his NHL debut in the season-opener against the defending Stanley Cup champions and score on them since Eric Lindros did it with the Philadelphia Flyers on October 6, 1992 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He recorded his first three-point game (1 goal and 2 assists) on March 21st against the Montreal Canadiens and finished the 2008-09 season with 31 points in 73 games. He also played 5 games with the Maple Leafs’ AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, where he finished pointless. Kulemin has great point-producing skills and can play either wing position. At 6’1 and around 185 pounds, he still needs to fill his frame out and become a more physical player. He also needs to adapt more to the North American style of hockey if he wants to succeed as a top six winger.