The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to extend Nikita Kucherov’s contract through the 2026-27 season. According to sportrac.com, the extension will cost Tampa Bay $9.5 million a year in salary. The 25-year-old winger has accumulated 185 points in his last two campaigns, which is second most during that span, behind only Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.
The two-time All-Star will be continuing his dominance on Tampa Bay’s first line along with two-time Maurice Richard winner Steven Stamkos and a combination of either J.T. Miller or Ondrej Palat. The Lightning finished with 113 points in 2017-18, good for first place in the Eastern Conference. A major key to their dominance is their explosive offensive prowess, as they led the NHL in goals scored with 296 and were third in power play percentage 23.91 percent.
With Stamkos signed through 2023-24, Victor Hedman through 2024-25, and now Kucherov through 2026-27, the Lightning look to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders for the next decade. Tampa Bay’s ability to draft, develop and retain talent are among the league’s best, as General Manager Steve Yzerman’s first draft class included Kucherov (2nd round) and Palat (7th round), who have combined to play in 728 games, score 587 points and register a plus/minus of positive 180.
Although the NHL is a league full of parody, the Tampa Bay Lightning look like favorites to top the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future.