Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis were the standard-bearers for years in Tampa, and the Lightning have made it clear they see Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov as worthy successors.
Tampa Bay announced Tuesday it has signed Kucherov to an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $9.5 million, locking up the 25-year-old winger through the 2026-27 season.
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) July 10, 2018
Stamkos, 28, is currently signed through 2023-24 at an $8.5 million AAV, setting up the duo for a long tenure together — though it remains to be seen who might play the leading role.
While Stamkos is a few years removed from the dominance that saw him lead the NHL in goals twice in his first four years in the league, Kucherov has steadily stepped up his production the last five seasons.
That culminated with a 100-point campaign for the Russian in 2017-18 — a threshhold Stamkos has yet to reach. Only Connor McDavid (208) has topped Kucherov’s 185 points over the last two regular seasons.
“I’m truly grateful to sign this contract extension to keep me in Tampa for the next eight seasons today,” Kucherov said in a release. “I’d like to thank the Lightning organization and all of the fans for the support since making the Bay Area my home.”