The Tampa Bay Lightning has announced that forward Nikita Kucherov will miss the 2020-21 regular season due to hip surgery. The GM Julien BriseBois is hopeful that the player will be able to return for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The surgery is scheduled for next week.
#tblightning BriseBois said they’re hoping that Nikita Kucherov (hip surgery) can return for playoffs and help defend Cup. “Nobody loves playing hockey more than Nikita Kucherov. I know how hard he’ll work to get back as soon as possible.” https://t.co/dj49223Y2m
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) December 23, 2020
Nikita Kucherov Will Miss the Upcoming Season Due to Hip Surgery
During the past season, Kucherov scored 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points in 68 games played. The right-winger was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Over his seven-year career, the 27-year-old player has scored 221 goals and 326 assists for 547 points in 515 career games. This past playoffs, Kucherov scored seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points in 25 games played, helping Tampa Bay win their second Stanley Cup.
What This Means for the Future
Even though Kucherov is a star player for Tampa Bay, having him away will help the team financially. With the Russian winger away and in LTIR, the Lightning will stash $9.5 million in their cap. That means the team won’t have to move any other contracts to get under the $81.5 million salary cap. It is still an unfortunate way to do so. With their remaining cap space, the Lightning will be able to negotiate and reach a possible deal with the remaining free agent Anthony Cirelli. BriseBoisn says a deal with Cirelli is already in the works.
Kucherov is a top player and had a key role in their successful playoff run the past season. Without him, the Tampa Bay team will have to work a lot more to get to the playoffs again. Fortunately, BriseBois expects the captain Steven Stamkos to be ready for opening night. This is a refresher for everyone since Stamkos lost the entire postseason due to a core muscle injury.