Nikita Kucherov
Nikita Kucherov
26-Year-Old Right WingRW
Tampa Bay Lightning
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Last season was one for the ages for Kucherov, who won the Art Ross as the NHL's top scorer (128 points), the Hart as the league's MVP and the Ted Lindsay as the most outstanding player as voted by his peers. His 128 points set an NHL record for most points in a season by a Russian player. But he lost his cool in the postseason, got suspended for one game, and his Bolts were stunningly swept out of round one. Kucherov is an elite talent with something to prove in 2019-20, and he's a legitimate consideration as the top pick overall. But ask yourself this -- is it reasonable to expect another record-breaking offensive season from the talented winger? He should vie for the scoring lead again, and could even contend for another trophy named after Rocket Richard. But it's hard to expect 128 points every year. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the Lightning in July of 2018.
Takes home Hart Trophy
RWTampa Bay Lightning
June 20, 2019
Kucherov won the Hart Trophy at Wednesday's NHL Awards.
It was the first Hart Trophy win for Kucherov and the second in franchise history (Martin St. Louis in 2003-04). The 25-year-old Kucherov reached the 100-point mark for the second time in his career, setting personal bests in goals (41), assists (87) and shooting percentage (16.7). There is no reason to doubt Kucherov can reach that milestone again in 2019-20 and he should be considered among the top five picks in all fantasy formats.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Kucherov is a superstar. In fact, many a hockey pundit considers him second only to Connor McDavid in the entire NHL. His 100 points were third-best in the NHL in 2017-18 and carried the Bolts to within a game of the Stanley Cup Final. He was in the Hart conversation, but last season's studliness wasn't a surprise. Kucherov's first five seasons were brilliant, not just in the current NHL landscape, but in NHL history. And he's just 25 years old. No, Kucherov isn't going to deliver like Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky, though his first five years were among the best 30 of all time and he hasn't even hit his ceiling yet. He's the second or third pick in most formats, including dynasty leagues.
Kucherov's star has risen. Last season, he finished tied for fifth in the NHL in points (85) and second overall in goals (40). And he was the NHL's most productive player on the power play -- he led the league with 32 points on the man advantage. Kucherov will need to share the offense this season with Steven Stamkos, but we fully expect him to lead the Bolts in scoring once again, especially with playmaking linemate Tyler Johnson back in the fold on a new contract. Kucherov should be the top Bolt taken come draft day, no matter what your buddies say. Stamkos is the captain, but Kucherov is the star, regardless of his intense and occasionally polarizing personality.
The summer of 2016 felt painfully long for Kucherov fans who kept waiting and waiting for the Bolts to announce they'd inked the sniping winger to a new long-term deal. But July came and went without an announcement and fans worried even more. They shouldn't be concerned – Kucherov isn't going anywhere. He's one of the league's best young stars and let's face it – he was a complete bargain at a mere $700,000 in 2015-16. Kucherov is coming off a 30-goal season and a massive performance in the postseason, and the two sides just need to figure out some numbers. Kucherov is only 23 and hasn't hit his peak, so expect growth in his offensive numbers – try north of 70 points with a good 40 percent of those coming on the power play. He will move into the NHL's top-20 scorers this season and top-10 goal scorers. Yes, he's that good. Kucherov is fantasy gold in every format and league style that's played, and he'll be a cornerstone of your championship win.
Kucherov’s emergence in 2014-15 was nothing short of incredible. Although he was a well-regarded prospect, no one saw his rookie-season offensive explosion coming -- he collected 29 goals, 65 points and a plus-38 rating in the regular season, and he did it with pinpoint precision. His average ice time of 14:57 was below his Triplet linemates, Tyler Johnson (17:14) and Ondrej Palat (17:25). But come playoff time, that number went up to 17 minutes, and he responded with 22 points in 26 games, with 21 of those in an 18-game stretch. He’ll hit the 90-point mark in a few seasons, but this year, he’s more likely to deliver his first 30-goal, 75-point effort. The Triplet Line has only just gotten started, and there’ll be nothing that stops them for the next few years. Get on board early.
Kucherov is very talented -- he has a sniper's release and mentality, and executes at Mach speed. He's even unexpectedly worked on his own zone play, so he’s more than a one-zone wonder. His star is rising and so will his ice time. Right now, he has a shot at a regular, top-six gig, and that could mean slotting in right next to Valtteri Filppula. He could easily triple his output from 2013-14 (19 points). That means he's a borderline play in standard 10- or 12-team single-year leagues, but it’s in dynasty formats where he’s a real asset.
Holy smokes, this kid is talented. Kucherov spent part of this past season on the sideline, first recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and then a hand ouch. But he still knocked off a remarkable 63 points in just 33 games in the QMJHL and that put him into the league's top-50 scorers. Guess who his numbers compare to when you break it down to a point-per-game pace? Yup, CHL Player of the Year and now teammate, Jonathan Drouin. Nice. Sure, there are still questions of size, durability and the sad stereotype that comes with young Russian phenoms. But there's a chance he could some day be in the same superstar class as Nail Yakupov. All he needs is a stay-out-of-the-infirmary gold pass. Stash him away in keeper leagues. Now. Just remember he probably won't make a dent in single-year leagues for another couple seasons.
Kucherov's offensive skills are absolutely breathtaking and he executes them all at breakneck speed. But he's "forgetful" … he forgets he has teammates and he forgets his team has its own zone. Hey -- isn't that a nicer than saying "puck hog" or "cherry picker?" Oops, we said that out loud. He's a long way away, but his talent alone would be the best in the team's system. Unfortunately, his risk is the highest, too.
Kucherov is an offensive wizard -- he set a record at the World Under-18 tourney with 21 points in just seven games -- but he struggles with consistency. He's an elite stick-handler who was arguably the most talented offensive non-North American in his draft class. The Bolts drafted the tiny (5-10, 160) whiz in the second round in 2011 and he has definite star potential. The so-called 'Russian factor' may have contributed to his draft drop but general manager Stevie Yzerman clearly has no concerns about that. He's several years out but he's worth monitoring in keeper formats.
More Fantasy News
Finalist for Hart Trophy
RWTampa Bay Lightning
April 28, 2019
Kucherov was announced as a finalist for the 2018-19 Hart Memorial Trophy on Sunday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.
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Earns Ted Lindsay nomination
RWTampa Bay Lightning
April 25, 2019
Kucherov has been named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award by the NHL Players Association, reports
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Plans to play for Team Russia
RWTampa Bay Lightning
April 17, 2019
Kucherov is planning on representing Team Russia at the upcoming IIHF World Championship, Joe Smith of The Athletic reports.
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Strong effort in return
RWTampa Bay Lightning
April 16, 2019
Kucherov notched two assists, one on the power play, in Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their first-round series.
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Eligible to return
RWTampa Bay Lightning
April 15, 2019
Kucherov (suspension) has served his one-game ban and is available for Tuesday's crucial Game 4 clash with Columbus.
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