Why are we still waiting for Nikita Kucherov to get a deal? Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Alex Killorn are all big names for the Tampa Bay Lightning that have something important in common: they were either given contract extensions or new deals by the Lightning earlier this offseason. However, we’re almost halfway through August, and Kucherov is the last big name on the roster that is still a restricted free agent and fans are wondering why he is not signed yet.
Kucherov has had a huge impact for this team over the last two seasons, including the playoffs. Could this be the reason that the Lightning have not signed him yet? Could Kucherov be holding out for more money because he feels like he might be worth more than what the Bolts might be willing to pay him? Tampa bay doesn’t have much left under the salary cap, as CapFriendly.com has them at just over $6.5 million of room to work with, which could easily be a factor that’s holding things up.
The Lightning don’t usually let word out about what is going on with player contracts until they’ve been signed. Nobody really knew what was going on with the team signing Stamkos until that deal was done. Maybe the Lightning were looking to trade goalie Ben Bishop this offseason to free up some salary cap space, but with that not happening, it could have put a damper on Yzerman’s plans for re-signing his restricted free agents like Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov. One thing is for sure, we can speculate all day long and we still won’t know for sure what is going on. Yzerman has done right by Lightning fans so far and has made some great moves and signings that have allowed him to keep a quality team on the ice. Can Yzerman pull off another big signing to end the offseason like he started it? We will know soon enough since the season is just around the corner.