Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bolts Bridge Kucherov

The news was out on Monday night that Nikita Kucherov was on his way from Russia to the States to get his deal done ahead of the start of the regular season and on Tuesday morning, the deal was done.  Kucherov signed a 3-year deal, reportedly worth $14.3 million.  That would put his cap hit in at $4.766 million, a screaming deal that will still leave him as a restricted free agent by the end of it, with arbitration rights.

The 23-year old has been pegged as a key piece of the Tampa Bay Lightning's future and will be relied upon for plenty of offense this season.  My initial projections for the dynamic winger were in the 70-point range and there is some definite upside to his game that could possibly exceed those numbers.

The Lightning will open up their regular season schedule on Thursday night, home to the Detroit Red Wings and they will have a full compliment of players on the opening night roster, thanks to this signing.

Forwards Cap Defense Cap Goalies Cap
Steven Stamkos 8.500 Jason Garrison 4.600 Ben Bishop 5.950
Ryan Callahan 5.800 Anton Stralman 4.500 Andrei Vasilevskiy 0.925
Valtteri Filppula 5.000 Victor Hedman 4.000
Nikita Kucherov 4.767 Braydon Coburn 3.700
Alex Killorn 4.450 Andrej Sustr 1.450
Ondrej Palat 3.333 Slater Koekkoek 0.894
Tyler Johnson 3.333 Nikita Nesterov 0.725
Brian Boyle 2.000
Vladislav Namestnikov 1.938
J.T. Brown 1.250
Jonathan Drouin 0.894
Cedric Paquette 0.813
Brayden Point 0.662

Salary CapAfter all of the cuts and waiver placements in the last couple of days, the roster above appears to be what the Lightning will be going with to start.  I have it as a 22-man roster with about $1.4 million in cap space, give or take a little bit of extra math.  It's a pretty good looking team, but it doesn't have a great deal of flexibility for the trade deadline, if needed... well, until they are able to move Ben Bishop out of town.

ImplicationsYou can hear the sigh of relief from all the way down under, as Brian gambled big on this restricted free agent as well, taking him with his 2nd round pick, 34th overall. There was no slipping for the big RFA's this year, everyone seemed fairly confident that they would get their new deals. Now there are only a few more to go and things might not be nearly as rosy.
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