The Panthers back end just got healthier and more skilled as defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and his agent told the Sun Sentinel they re-signed him for two more years.

Kulikov, 22, has been playing for Lokomotiv in the Russian KHL league during the lockout, the same organization he played with during his formative years.

Negotiations on the former restricted free agent have been dragging for months, even before the lockout. The Panthers would not comment on this report.

"We signed contract already. He will be in Florida tomorrow,'' said Kulikov's agent Sergey Bogdan.

No NHL contract is finalized until the player passes a physical, so Kulikov, who said he's already in the United States, is flying to Florida Friday for medical testing. He said he's completly healthy but isn't sure if he will play in the season opener Saturday night.

"I need to get some testing and a couple of practices, but I can't answer that right now, it's up to the coaches,'' Kulikov said via his agent's cell phone.

"I'm excited about the season. I haven't met the new guys, but I'm definitely excited to meet all the new guys and the old guys, too.''