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.