Draft Pick Profile: Edgars Kulda
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Coyotes added nine prospects to the mix at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia. Follow along as ArizonaCoyotes.com profiles all nine draft picks. Today's featured player is forward Edgars Kulda.
Height/Weight: 5-11, 177
Position: Left Wing
Hometown: Riga, Latvia
Round: 7 (193rd overall)
2013-14 team: Edmonton (WHL)
Kulda capped a memorable 2013-14 season with a goal and two assists in the championship game of the Memorial Cup as Edmonton captured its first championship since 1966 with a 6-3 win over Guelph. He totaled seven points (four goals, three assists) in five games en route to capturing the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s most valuable player. A native of Latvia, Kulda is a strong skater with excellent stick-handling skills. He also is known for his fun approach to interacting with the media.
• Kulda finished fifth in Oil Kings scoring during the 2013-14 regular season, compiling 60 points (30 goals, 30 assists) in 66 games, and was the team’s second-highest scorer in the postseason, notching 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 21 contests. His plus-14 postseason rating led all Oil Kings.
• Kulda has represented Latvia at a number of international events, most recently winning a silver medal with his country at the 2014 Division 1 Group A World Junior Championship, where he shared the tournament lead with six assists (one goal, six assists) in five games. He also played for Latvia at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship and 2013 World Junior Championship.
"I'm a champion of the Western Hockey League and a champion of the Memorial Cup. Somehow it all turned out. I think I just got lucky, that's all." -- Edgars Kulda
"You read the news that you’re supposed to go a little bit earlier and it gets in your head. But they were playing pretty good music in the arena so I was just chilling, listening to it." -- Edgars Kulda on waiting for the 193rd pick to be drafted
"For some Europeans it's an adjustment (playing in North American) and he didn't have a great season last season in Edmonton. But he just got better and better this year and ended up with 30 goals and had a good playoff. Him and Henrik (Samuelsson) were the two best players for that team in the Memorial Cup. You've got to give him dues for his development and what he's done, and we want to give him an opportunity." – Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt
The Fun Facts:
• Kulda gained cult celebrity status this season thanks to his brief appearance in a video promoting the Oil Kings Teddy Bear Toss game in December: “My name is Edgars Kulda, and I approved this message,” he says in the video while giving two thumbs up as the words 'Kulda Approved' appear at the bottom. Once an inside joke, the phrase 'Kulda Approved' went national in Canada during the Memorial Cup and even became a popular Twitter hashtag.
• Kulda is one of three Edmonton Oil Kings who will attend the Coyotes annual prospect development camp in early July. The others are 2012 draft pick Henrik Samuelsson and 2014 draft pick Dysin Mayo. “Now the three of us are with Coyotes. Maybe we can create one line,” Kulda joked.