Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GM Yzerman confident Lightning will sign Kucherov

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22:  Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman's offseason can't have gone much better, especially after he re-signed captain Steven Stamkos and locked up cornerstone defenseman Victor Hedman long-term.

But after avoiding arbitration with center Vladislav Namestnikov Tuesday by signing him to a two-year deal, Yzerman has one big item left on his to-do list:

Sign Nikita Kucherov.

Kucherov, 23, one of the league's top young stars, is a restricted free agent and is due a hefty raise from the $700,000 he made last season. He's coming off a 30-goal season and another clutch playoff performance. Think of the Predators' six-year, $36 million deal with Filip Forsberg as an example.

Yzerman said Wednesday he remains confident the Lightning will sign Kucherov. It just might take a while, with Yzerman suggesting negotiations could last until the start of the season. Agent Scott Greenspun declined to comment.

The Lightning is in a cap crunch, with an estimated $5 million to $6 million left for next season and needing to sign Kucherov and fellow restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Nesterov. Yzerman said he doesn't need to make a trade to create cap space before signing both Russians, but he will have to become cap compliant before the season starts.

With Namestnikov signing, at a $1.93 million cap hit for the next two seasons, the Lightning could try to deal veteran center Valtteri Filppula, who is due $5 million each of the next two seasons. Namestnikov is coming off a career year with 14 goals and 21 assists while bouncing up and down the lineup.

"(Namestnikov) pretty much became a regular in the lineup," Yzerman said. "He's very versatile. Ultimately we see his best position is in the middle, at center, but he can play in all positions and he has the ability to play on both special teams as well."

CARLE LANDS: Defenseman Matt Carle, bought out by the Lightning this summer, signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Predators. Carle still carries a $1.833 million cap hit for the Lightning in each of the next four seasons.

GM Yzerman confident Lightning will sign Kucherov 07/27/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  2. Baseball team's eclipse watch during game draws fans from far away

    Outdoors

    KEIZER, Ore. — They came from Hawaii, Rhode Island and Alaska, and as far as the Dominican Republic and Australia.

    Players for the minor-league baseball Salem-Keizer Volcanoes wear special eclipse jerseys Monday.
  3. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  4. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation

    Footballpreps

    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  5. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

    Blogs

    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …