The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that forward Nikita Kucherov will be out 8-10 weeks with an unspecified lower-body injury. TSN reporter Chris Johnston reported the news this Wednesday afternoon:
The #TBLightning say Nikita Kucherov will be out eight to 10 weeks after undergoing and unspecified lower-body procedure today.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 27, 2021
Nikita Kucherov Out
Kucherov sustained his injury on October 16th in a game with the Washington Capitals. During the game, Kucherov doubled over in pain and was walked off the ice. He has yet to play a game since then. In three games this season, Kucherov has a goal and two assists. He missed the entirety of the 2020-21 season last year, returning just in time for the playoffs. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will look to return sometime in 2022, which will give him plenty of time to recover in preparation for the playoff push. Kucherov has 678 points in 361 regular season and playoff games in his career. Depending on the timetable for his recovery, he could make it just in time for the 2022 Beijing Olympics to seek the only thing missing on his player card: an Olympic Gold medal.
How this Affects the Lightning
Kucherov’s injury comes at a huge blow to the Lightning, who will sorely miss their top scorer. Fortunately for the Lightning, the injury isn’t a season-ender. Having said that, losing one of the league’s best wingers is not the way the Lightning have wanted to go. After losing their entire third line to free agency and the expansion draft, the Lightning can’t coast as easily as they did last season. While the Lightning’s offense is no slouch, the fact is that they’re simply a better team with Kucherov on the ice. For now, head coach Jon Cooper has decided to replace Kucherov with Corey Perry for some extra top-six scoring. How long that continues remains to be seen.
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