Arturs Kulda
Image: AHL

Arturs Kulda

Hometown:

Riga Latvia

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1988-07-25

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2006

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2006

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

7th round (200th overall), 2006

Weight:

194 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C

History

2005-06: Arturs Kulda played in Russia for the CSKA Moscow second team, scoring five goals and 12 assists in 44 games. He missed some games midway through the season due to some visa problems, and also due to playing both for Latvia's U20 and U18 teams. With the U18 team, he had three points in five games, while with the U20 team he had one assist in six games.  Kulda was selected by OHL league champion Peterborough Petes in the 2006 CHL Import Draft.

2006-07: Kulda moved across the pond to play for the Peterborough Petes. He posted 11 points in 58 games, third among defensemen in points. He improved his plus/minus as the year went on, finishing at -13, which was about average on the team.  Peterborough did not qualify for the playoffs. Kulda played for Team Latvia in Division I of the 2007 WJC and had two points in five games.

2007-08: Played with with Peterborough in the OHL. Injured to start year, Kulda went on to almost triple his output from last year, in fewer games. He finished with 34 points in 55 games. Part of his increase could have been playing with current Thrasher Zach Bogosian, his defensive partner for much of the year. In five playoff games with the Petes scored 1 goal with 3 assists. Finished the season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL – playing in five regular season games (1 assist) and in the Wolves' Calder Cup championship run. In 22 playoff games, he scored one goal with 5 assists. He also represented Latvia in the Division I Under-20 championships, scoring 1 goal with 4 assists in five games.

2008-09: Spent his first full season of pro hockey in North America with the Chicago Wolves. Kulda played 57 games for the Wolves, missing time early in the season due to an ankle injury. He scored one goal with 14 assists and had 59 PIM with a plus/minus of +7 on a disappointing Wolves team that failed to make the playoffs.

2009-10: Kulda established himself as a legitimate prospect in his second season with the Wolves. Playing alongside future Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, Kulda led all players in the AHL with a +47 plus/minus rating. His play for the Western Conference championship earned him his first NHL call-up; Kulpa appeared in four games with the Thrashers in which he had two assists. In 66 regular season games for Chicago, he scored 6 goals with 19 assists. In 14 playoff games for the Wolves he had one goal with 4 assists. Kulda also represented Latvia at the World Championships in Germany, appearing in three games.

2010-11: Without Chelios as his defense partner, Kulda was not nearly as effective at the AHL level. Having been penciled in to start the season with the Thrashers, Kulda was a late cut from training camp after free agent Freddie Meyer took his spot as the 7th dman. Kulda was again steady at the back for the Chicago Wolves but did nothing to advance his claim for an NHL spot.

2011-12: Kulda was called up from Winnipeg AHL affiliate St. John's in November and played in nine games before being sent back down and finishing the year with the IceCaps. He was plus-three with no points and four penalty minutes; averaging 10:52 minutes of ice time with the Jets. Kulda had the team's top plus/minus (plus-18) while scoring 6 goals with 14 assists in 63 games for the IceCaps. St. John's finished first in the Atlantic Division and reached the Eastern Conference finals. Kulda had 1 assist and was minus-three with 8 penalty minutes in 13 playoff games. Kulda was tendered a qualifying offer by the Jets in June 2012 and signed a contract to play for Sibir Novosibirsk in the KHL in 2012-13.

 

Talent Analysis

Kulda is a physical defenseman who is solid defensively. He skates well and is usually in the right spot. Kulda has a heavy shot from the point which is valuable on the power play. He's a very willing hitter and makes a good outlet pass. Kulpa can make mistakes in coverage and can get a little messy with the puck. He also needs to work on the speed of the pro game.

 

Future

Kulda is returning to the Winnipeg Jets after playing the 2012-13 season in the KHL.