Tampa Bay Lightning Fantasy Preview: Nikita Kucherov is still elite

(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

With the season fast approaching for the Tampa Bay Lightning, fantasy hockey leagues are also forming. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or looking to play for the first time, we here at Bolts by the Bay are going to run down some of the featured members of the Lightning and let you know where a good place to draft them would be.

If you are playing in a standard league that uses categories, you have to consider a player’s goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play points, shots on goal, and hits. Depending on your league, you either get a point for each category you win, or there a point values assigned to each category, and it is scored similar to standard fantasy football.

First in our series, we are going to look at the highest-ranking fantasy player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nikita Kucherov.

Tampa Bay Lightning Fantasy Preview: Something about number one

  • 2022-23 stats
    • Goals: 30
    • Assists: 83
    • Plus/Minus: -2
    • Power Play Points: 50
    • Shots On Goal: 271
    • Hits: 61
  • Round to draft in a 12-team league: 1st

The strength of Kucherov relative to the other options that will also be available out of the gate are his assists and power play points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in power-play points.

His hit numbers will be low, but almost anyone drafted in the first round will have low hit numbers.

The real concern for fantasy purposes is his shots on goals and his surprisingly negative plus/minus last season. Given his style, Kucherov is never going to pump in a lot of shots, much to the chagrin of a certain radio commentator. But as a result, he’s probably going to wind up with 100 fewer shots for the season compared to other first-round picks.

The plus/minus should bounce back, though that also might depend on how Jon Cooper sets the top line.

Our recommendation is that if you are picking around the middle of the first round, go for Kucherov. But if you have one of the top three picks, it’s hard to justify Kucherov in fantasy over guys like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and, as much as it pains us to say it, David Pastrnak (he beat Kucherov in four of the six fantasy categories last season).

Next. What is the ideal top line in 2023-24?. dark