Unrestricted free agent forward Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning have not found common ground on a contract, but NHL Insider Bob McKenzie provided some potentially good news on that front with a pair of Sunday tweets.
While on Montreal radio Monday morning, he was asked to follow up on that subject.
“You can debate what his value is on a six or a seven-year deal, but I think anybody would objectively suggest that it’s in excess of $6 million a year,” McKenzie surmised while on Montreal’s TSN 690. “As I said, Filip Forsberg may be a comparable player. I don’t know. Some people would say yes. Some people would say no. But in any case, Filip Forsberg got 6X6, but he’s got an extra year of service, so he would be giving up only one year of unrestricted free agency. Kucherov, if he signed a six-year deal, would be giving up two years of unrestricted free agency. There’s a price to be paid for that.
“So let’s say that it’s 6.2, 6.5, or whatever number you want to take out of the air, go ahead with it. Tampa has only got probably $5.5 million in cap space right now. Now, they could trade a player, but at this moment in time, the trades don’t appear to be there. So I think because it was so stalled on that basis, that Kucherov is just looking and saying, ‘I’m not going to take a hugely-discounted long-term deal just because the Tampa Bay Lightning have some cap issues and they’ve got them again next year.’
“That’s when I think both sides probably started looking more in the area of a bridge deal. I think that’s getting traction. I’d be surprised – it’s not a done deal – but I’d be surprised if Kucherov is not in the lineup this week.”
Source: TSN 690/ Transcript: Nichols