Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is happy to have the team back together after the team re-signed Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov to a three-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans definitely got some good news this morning. This was the kind of news that could potentially have a rather large impact on the Lightning’s upcoming 2016-17 season.
Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced the team has signed their 2015-16 leading point scorer, Nikita Kucherov, to a three-year deal that will see the Russian sniper in a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey through the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
Whether people want to admit it or not, Nikita Kucherov was a substantial part of the Lightning’s success over the last couple of seasons. Last season, Kucherov played in 77 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that amount of time, he was able to bring home 30 goals and 36 assists for a total of 66 points.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov continued to prove his worth to the team as the Lightning made their way into the postseason. Kucherov played in all 17 postseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. In that amount of time, Kucherov brought home 11 goals and eight assists for a total of 19 points.
Once again, this put Nikita Kucherov in first place on the team in regards to overall points. In addition to this, Nikita Kucherov also led the way in the postseason in terms of goals.
Earlier this afternoon, we showed you a small sampling of what Tampa Bay Lightning fans across the Bolts Nation had to say about the news that Nikita Kucherov had re-signed with the Lightning just two days shy of the Lightning’s Home Opener on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Now, we have a chance to hear from another integral piece to the Lightning’s puzzle who also signed a new contract with the Lightning this season, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. As you can imagine, the captain is happy the team is back together and now they can concentrate on the upcoming season.
"“It was nice to get Kuch done,” Stamkos told Fox 13 correspondent Kevin O’Donnell. “Right down to the wire, but the team is back together. We’ve seen what we can do the last couple years and we have that experience now so, he’s a big part of that.”"
Stamkos went on to expand on just how valuable Nikita Kucherov is to the team and what the team as a whole has planned for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
"“Obviously, we’ve seen what he can do in important times for our team, so to have him locked up is something special. Hopefully, this group can do something special this year.” Stamkos said. “We’ve seen what we can do. We still have a lot of work to do. We haven’t got to the ultimate goal yet. Obviously, when you have a team this talented, the more years you can play together the better.”"
The Tampa Bay Lightning have something heading into the new season that many other teams do not. The Lightning have an uncanny chemistry with one another on the ice; especially Nikita Kucherov and his linemates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.
We have seen season after season what the Tampa Bay Lightning can do when they put their minds to it. Like Steven Stamkos said, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but given the loyalty these players have shown over the course of the last couple of seasons, we here at Bolts By The Bay have full faith this team has what it takes to go all the way and hold the Stanley Cup high above their heads.
In two more days, the Tampa Bay Lightning will charge into the Amalie Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings in the Lightning Home Opener. The one thing we know for sure is Thursday night is going to be an excitement-filled night. The season will officially kick off and the Bolts will take on one of their biggest Atlantic Division rivals. What more could a Tampa Bay Lightning fan ask for?