NHL Rumors: Lightning Nikita Kucherov to KHL

nhl rumors lightning nikita kucherov KHL

Nikita Kucherov has not reported to training camp after the World Cup of Hockey because he hasn't signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is having difficulty signing restricted free agent Kucherov to a new contract.

Kucherov is an elite right winger, who scored 66 points in 77 games with the Lightning last season. Several NHL teams are interested in trading for the 23 year old. In addition, Kucherov has reportedly received a large contract offer from CSKA Moscow of the KHL. Kucherov was born in Moscow and has played for CSKA Moscow in the past. Is it possible Kucherov will leave the NHL for his home team?

It is possible, but unlikely. Kucherov's dream is to play in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup. With the Lightning, he has a great opportunity to win the Cup. The problem lies with the salary cap. The Lightning currently have under $5.5M per year available to sign Kucherov. Kucherov is wanting at least $6.5M per year. 

The Lightning need to trade Ben Bishop to free up cap space; however, the goaltender market has dried up. The Lightning may also attempt to trade Valtteri Filppula, Braydon Coburn, or Jason Garrison, but NHL teams will not want to do the Lightning a favor, and trade for these players unless there is a sweetener added.

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