Yzerman on Kucherov: 'We want him here'
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he's in "constant communication" with Nikita Kucherov's representatives, and is hoping to get the touted wing signed "as soon as possible."
But while the goal is to get Kucherov, a restricted free agent, signed by the time he returns from the World Cup of Hockey, Yzerman indicated "that may or may not happen right away."
Kucherov, 23, led the Lightning in points last season, and in the playoffs. Playing for Russia in the World Cup, it's unknown if Kucherov would report to training camp without a deal. But Yzerman doesn't anticipate it being a distraction for the team.
"We want him here," Yzerman said. "He's a tremendous player, a popular player on the team. Being young, he's still one of our leaders on our team. We want to get him here as soon as possible. It takes time."
Yzerman said he's also hopeful to get a deal done with the other remaining restricted free agent, defenseman Nikita Nesterov.