As regular season approaches, Nikita Kucherov signs new Bolts deal - SaintPetersBlog

As regular season approaches, Nikita Kucherov signs new Bolts deal

As the Tampa Bay Lightning prepares for a new season, the gang’s all here.

Once again, general manager Steve Yzerman has gotten a name on a contract.

This time, it is forward Nikita Kucherov, who signed a new three-year deal worth $4.766 million per season. He joins Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman as huge off-season signings.

Kucherov, 23, scored 30 goals for the Bolts last year in 77 games. He led the team in points and was second in goals and assists (36).

The 5-foot-11, 178-pound forward also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning last season, posting 11 goals and 19 points to go along with a plus-13 rating. Kucherov led the Bolts during the playoffs for both goals and points. He finished second for goals and sixth for points in NHL in playoff scoring. Over the past two postseasons, Kucherov has tallied 21 goals and 41 points in 43 Stanley Cup Playoff contests. Kucherov has scored more playoff goals than any player in the NHL over the previous two postseasons.

Kucherov has skated in 211 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay over the past three seasons, collecting 68 goals and 149 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes and a plus-50 rating. He’s also appeared in 45 career playoff games, recording 22 goals and 42 points. Kucherov represented Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto last month, posting two goals and three assists in four tournament games. He ranked tied for first on Russia in both goals and points.

The Moscow, Russia native was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.
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