Tha Sports Junkies 101

Lightning Re-Sign Kucherov to Three-Year Deal

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News, Kucherov (Kucherov standing on left) Sarah A./via

Restricted Free Agent led Tampa in Scoring last season


TAMPA BAY-With the start of the NHL season just one day away, the Tampa Bay Lightning made a splash Tuesday, bringing back one of their key core players as they look to win the Cup for the first time since 2004.

The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent forward Nikita Kucherov to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $4.766 million on Tuesday.

Kucherov earned the contract with his stellar play last season. The 23-year-old led Tampa in scoring with 66 points in 77 games. His 66 points and 30 goals were personal career-highs.

He carried that play into the playoffs where he led the Lightning with 11 goals and 19 points in 17 playoff games as Tampa fell one win short of going to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year.

Over the last two postseasons, Kucherov has scored 21 goals, which is the most by any player during that stretch.

In 211 regular season games, the Moscow native has tallied 68 goals and 149 points. His playoff numbers are slightly better as he has registered 22 goals and 42 in 45 postseason games.

He also had the chance to play for Team Russia at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, compiling two goals and three points in four games.

Kucherov’s re-signing is the latest key re-signing by Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman this off-season. Earlier in the summer, Yzerman was able to re-sign key core players Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn, and Victor Hedman to long-term deals.

The Lightning begin their regular season on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-D) at Amalie Arena against Yzerman’s former team, the Detroit Red Wings. There is a possibility Kucherov could play in that game.