Tampa Bay Lightning: 20 Greatest Goal Scorers In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

19. Nikita Kucherov

Single Season High Goals: 29

Career High Goals: 44

When Russian forward Nikita Kucherov was selected with the 58th overall pick during the 2011 NHL draft, many scouts understood how much skill the Moscow, Russia native had, but they felt like his lack of defense would not translate to the NHL level. Those same scouts are now kept awake at night now knowing the complete player Kucherov has developed into.

You knew when Kucherov scored in his first game, first shift, and first shot of his NHL career, you just knew he was going to be something special. We were right about that. Kucherov has developed into one of the most feared scorers in the league since he came in the league during the 2013-14 season, and along with teammates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, the trio have become one of the most feared lines in the NHL.

Kucherov had a breakout season during the team’s Stanley Cup Finals campaign, as the Russian sniper scored 29 goals and was toward the top of the league in plus/minus. When he was being scouted, you would never have heard a scout say those words. Now, Kucherov is doing it on both ends of the ice as he continues to round out his overall game.

Right now, Nikita Kucherov would just be the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s best forward behind captain Steven Stamkos as the team looks to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals and take home Lord Stanley’s Cup. Nikita Kucherov will be a prolific goal scorer for many years to come and he will continue to make opponents pay for passing over him on draft day in 2011.

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