Tampa Bay Lightning: Is Nikita Kucherov Headed To The KHL?

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Could Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov be headed to the KHL for the upcoming 2016-17 season?

The Tampa Bay Lightning are still in their offseason, but the World Cup Of Hockey is well on their way. The Lightning is represented by 12 players on seven different teams including, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Sweden, North America, and the USA.  But, one player is creating quite a bit of buzz.

So far team Russia has played to games both against the Czech Republic. While Russia holds the most Lightning players than any other team, one has been creating a lot of buzz around his play and contract situation. Nikita Kucherov has scored 3 points in two games in the preliminary round of the World Cup and is one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s top scorers.

Last season, Nikita Kucherov scored 66 points in 77 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In last season’s playoffs, he brought home 19 points in 22 games. He is a treasured player, maybe even the most valuable player.

The Lightning looked like they would sign Kucherov with ease until now. Kucherov is still unsigned, and other teams are starting to gain interest; especially, teams outside the United States and Canada.

Could Nikita Kucherov being in the World Cup Of Hockey be the worst scenario for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Nikita Kucherov has reportedly received a contract offer from CSKA Moscow of the KHL. Kucherov was born in Moscow and is currently recollecting about what it was like for him to play as a child in Russia.

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Kucherov has many reasons to stay here such as, playing on a Stanley Cup contending team. But, Moscow is Kucherov’s home, and he probably has many family members overseas. Is it possible that Kucherov will leave the National Hockey League for a piece of home?

Nikita Kucherov has played for the CSKA Moscow before. The 23-year-old Russian sniper played with the organization for two seasons,  playing a total of 26 games. Needless to say, there is a good probability he still has friends on the team.

But now is not the time to worry, because Kucherov will most likely stay here in the Bolts Nation. Kucherov left the CSKA Moscow to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, meaning his dream probably was not to play in the KHL, but rather the NHL. Although he did not play for the Tampa Bay Lightning until three years later, his intention was to play for them.

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Nikita Kucherov has a useful career in the NHL with a Stanley Cup contender, the Tampa Bay Lightning. It seemed that playing in the NHL was his hockey goal. I expect Kucherov to stay with the Lightning for many years.