Tampa Bay Lightning: Nikita Kucherov Contract Will Work Out In Time

Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman remains confident he will be able to work out a deal with Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

There is no denying the Tampa Bay Lightning were faced with some rather difficult questions as they embarked on the off-season. There were a plethora of contracts that needed to be signed and questions about whether or not the Lightning had the resources to get it all completed without losing core pieces of the team’s successful build.

First, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman was able to re-sign Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to an eight-year contract extension. On the heels of the Stamkos signing, Yzerman was also able to secure Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman for another eight years with a contract extension of his own.

A little further down the way, Yzerman was able to seal the deal with players like Lightning center Alex Killorn, who signed a seven-year extension with the team, and Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov, who signed a two-year extension with the team. Along the way, Yzerman was able to re-acquire a familiar face when he signed forward Cory Conacher to a one-year deal.

Despite all of Steve Yzerman’s success stories this off-season, there is still a pretty considerable question looming off into the distance. Why hasn’t the Tampa Bay Lightning been able to secure a contract extension for one of their leading point scorers, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov?

There have been many speculations as to why a deal has not yet been made, and most of these aforementioned speculations revolve around the almighty dollar. Considering the fact that players like Stamkos, Hedman, and Killorn left more than a couple million on the negotiating room floor in order to remain here in Tampa Bay, we have a hard time believing money is the issue. Of course, we could always be wrong.

Of course, at the same time, this whole situation may be blown epically out of proportion. Many Tampa Bay Lightning fans believed when Steven Stamkos didn’t sign a new contract by the NHL Trade Deadline that he was definitely going to be wearing a different jersey next season. We see how that worked out.

The fact of the matter is, the art of the deal is not something that can be finished overnight. Both sides need to sit across the table from one another and lay it all out on the line, establishing boundaries. From there, it is up to both sides to come up with a compromise that is beneficial to both sides. Considering how many aspects come into play here (i.e. cap space, performance, contract length, etc) it is hard to pull everything together.

Steve Yzerman recently spoke with Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. In that interview, Yzerman said that he was confident he would have Nikita Kucherov signed to a new contract before the start of the 2016-17 season, expressing that sometimes these things just take time.

“Every negotiation is different and some take longer than others,” Yzerman told Smith. “Sometimes they get done when they get done. You can’t force it.”

As much as Tampa Bay Lightning fans would love to hear the organization has secured Nikita Kucherov to a new multi-year deal, we all need to sit back and attempt to prevent the anticipation from overcoming us and let Steve Yzerman work his magic. As much as some would like to deny it, Yzerman has yet to fail the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Why would he start now?

It will certainly be interesting to see how everything plays out as the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare for the 2016-17 season. For the most part, Yzerman has already secured a good portion of the Lightning’s main core. There are still a few more pieces that need to be put into place before the bigger picture becomes crystal clear, but Yzerman still has plenty of time to get the job done.