Lightning re-sign leading scorer Kucherov to 3-year contract

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) " The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Nikita Kucherov to a three-year contract worth an annual average of $4.766 million.

Kucherov had 30 goals and a team-best 66 points last season.

The team announced the deal Tuesday, two days before the regular-season opener against Detroit.

Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman kept a talented nucleus intact in the offseason, beginning with re-signing captain Steven Stamkos to an eight-year, $68 million contract.

Defenseman Victor Hedman received an eight-year, $63 million deal. Backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy got a new deal worth about $3.5 million per season after filling in admirably for an injured Ben Bishop during the playoffs.

The Lightning reached the Eastern Conference final last season, one year after losing to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final.

Kucherov led Tampa Bay in playoff scoring last season with 11 goals and 19 points in 17 games.

Over the past two postseasons, Kucherov has 21 goals and 41 points in 43 games. The 23-year-old scored more playoff goals than any player in the NHL over the stretch.

Kucherov represented Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey last month, picking up two goals and three assists in four games. He ranked tied for first on Russia in both goals and points.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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