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Nikita Kucherov Signs An Eight-Year Extension With The Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $9.5 million today, vice president and general manager announced. The contract keeps Kucherov through the 2026-27 season.

"I'm truly grateful to sign this contract extension to keep me in Tampa for the next eight seasons today," Kucherov said. "I'd like to thank the Lightning organization and all of the fans for the support since making the Bay Area my home."

Kucherov, 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, recorded 39 goals and 100 points in 2017-18, along with a plus-15 rating, eight power play goals and seven game-winning goals. He ranked third in the NHL for points, sixth for assists and tied for ninth for goals. Kucherov led the Lightning in most offensive categories in 2017-18, including goals, assists and points, while also ranking tied for second for power play goals and second for game-winners. His 19:49 in average ice time led all Tampa Bay forwards.

The Maykop, Russia native appeared in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2018 as the Lightning lost in Game 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. He paced the Bolts with 17 points and was tied for first with seven goals and nine assists.

Kucherov, 25, has skated in 365 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, registering 147 goals, 334 points, 39 power play goals and 23 game-winners.    He scored a career-high 40 goals during the 2016-17 season, while his 100 points during this past campaign were also a career best.Since the start of the 2016 season, Kucherov's 185 points ranks second in the entire NHL, behind only Edmonton's Connor McDavid. He also ranks third for goals during that same span with 79, trailing Washington's Alex Ovechkin (82) and Patrick Laine of the Winnipeg Jets (80).

The two-time NHL All-Star has played in 62 career Stanley Cup Playoff Games, scoring 29 goals and adding 59 points. Dating back to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, no other Lightning player has more playoff goals (28) or points (58) than Kucherov. He also ranks second for assists (30), behind only Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Victor Hedman.

Kucherov was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikita+kucherov


Ajax19's avatar

No one gets things done like Stevie Y!

This is a really solid deal.  Kucherov is only 25.  He’s making $1.5 million less than Tavares who is 27 (though, because he plays center he has more value) and $1 million less than Patrick Kane who is 29.  This locks Kuch up for his entire prime at a price that will likely only look better and better as time goes on.

Posted by Ajax19 on 07/10/18 at 10:43 AM ET

Primis's avatar

This locks Kuch up for his entire prime at a price that will likely only look better and better as time goes on.

Posted by Ajax19 on 07/10/18 at 10:43 AM ET

The price is fine I guess but that term…. 8 years.

If in a couple of seasons he reverts back to a 30 goal max guy, it’s not so great, and they’re still on the hook for say 4 or 5 more seasons.  And to be blunt, that’s pretty likely if you look around the league at goalscorers like him.

I don’t get the long-terms deals anymore, I understand them less and less.  Guys are never going to make them worth it in the longrun, and if it’s only, say, a 4 year deal and Kucherov were still scoring 40 a year, you can pay him appropriately then, because the cap seems to keep going up and up…  Instead you’re paying him for what you hope, which is universally derided in any other scenario.

Almost nobody is ever worth it in the final few years of these, and it hamstrings the team’s cap space horribly.

Posted by Primis on 07/10/18 at 12:17 PM ET


And somehow there is room for Hedman, Stamkos, McDounough, good supporting cast and and they are still looking to add Karlsson.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/18 at 12:25 PM ET


In 8 years, when he’s 33, Ken Holland can sign him to another 8 year deal AND a No Trade Clause.  By that time Zadina will be ready for 4th line minutes as we break him in.

Posted by bababooey on 07/10/18 at 12:32 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

but that term…. 8 years
I don’t get the long-terms deals
Posted by Primis on 07/10/18 at 12:17 PM ET

I am of similar mind. Due the punitive nature of the salary structure in the nhl, from a franchise perspective, these long term deals are a real impediment to roster management and flexibility. Contracts should rarely be longer than 3-4 years.

I get it for the players though. Once they hit an amount they like, it’s gravy….and it’s guaranteed. Very little risk on their part.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 07/10/18 at 01:18 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

It’s interesting how the contract “norms” have changed the last few years.  Now younger, less proven players with high upside are getting the max contracts instead of waiting for a more proven guy to turn 28 or 29 to give him a 7 or 8 year contract. 

Nevertheless, if he keeps the pace up it’s a good, fair signing.  But I can’t see him being a 30+ goal scorer throughout the contract.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/10/18 at 02:21 PM ET


Their best window is probably the first half of the contract when he
should still be at his best.

And this deal is probably implicitly a bit of make up
- via the term at 9.5 - for the relative bargain that proceeded.

I suppose paying a guy like this on max term is the price
of contending and keeping a core of stars in the their prime.

It might bite you eventually, but if you’ve got a Cup or two to
show for it, it’s worth the headache of overpaying a guy later as he
starts to decline. And given his track record, who doubts Stevie Y
will figure out a way to handle this if and when it becomes a problem.

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/10/18 at 04:01 PM ET


It might bite you eventually, but if you’ve got a Cup or two to
show for it, it’s worth the headache of overpaying a guy later as he
starts to decline.

This is precisely the gamble the franchise is taking. If the franchise is in the playoffs nearly every year, in contention for the Cup most of those and bringing home one of twice, the contract is a bargain. Think of the last 3-4 years as a bonus payment.

Yzerman knows who is core is and making sure to keep them together. He’s doing a pretty good job because he is typically getting them to sign for less than market value. It doesn’t hurt that Florida has no state income tax and he’s got a solid team to sell them on. He’s also been willing to make the hard decisions and move some people out to keep the core. Honestly I think his most questionable signing is McDonagh. I can see him back sliding quick because of his style of play. If Yzerman somehow turns prospects into Karlsson and gets he committed below market value the team will be favorites for years to come (as if they aren’t already). Toronto might be climbing but they still have some growth and additions to do before they’ll reach the talent level in Tampa.


Posted by evileye on 07/11/18 at 09:10 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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