Nikita Kucherov (born 17.6.1993) is a Russian ice hockey winger. He has been playing in the NHL since 2013 and he has played his whole career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Early Career

Nikita Kucherov played in Russia with Krasnaya Armia (MHL) and CSKA Moscow (KHL) between 2009-12. He was drafted 56th overall by Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011 NHL Draft. Kucherov decided to play major junior hockey in QMJHL as he wanted to learn North American style to play ice hockey. Kucherov signed three-year contract with Tampa Bay Lightning on 10.9.2012.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov started his Lightning career on 25.10.2013 – he scored his first NHL goal in that game against New York Rangers. Next season (2014-15) was a breakout season to Kucherov – he made 65 (29+36 points) and tied NHL lead in plus-minus (+38 – new Lightning’s franchise record). On 11.10.2016 the Lightning re-signed Kucherov to a three-year contract. On season 2016-17, Kucherov join the club of players that have made over 40-goals season. Kucherov was named an NHL Second All-Star Team that season.

On 10.7.2018 Kucherov re-signed an eight-year contract extension with the Lightning. On 2018-19 season, Kucherov moved to the next level. He made massive 128 (41+87) points at that season – he broke Lightnings’ old points record (109) one month before regular season ends and he also broke many more records. Nikita Kucherov won Art Ross Trophy (most points in the regular season in NHL), Hart Memorial Trophy (for a NHL’s most valuable player) and Ted Lindsay Award (Best player – chosen by fellow NHL players) at the 2019 NHL Awards.

International Play

Kucherov won a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and a bronze medal next year (2013). He was selected for Russia’s team in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 IIHF World Championships – he has won two bronzes (2017 and 2019).

Other interesting stuff

Nikita Kucherov has won one Hart Memorial Trophy (2019) for a NHL’s most valuable player and one Art Ross Trophy for most points in regular season in NHL (2019). Kucherov has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 2 times (2018 and 2019) and NHL Second All-Star Team once (2017). Kucherov has record for most assists in a single season by a wing in NHL history (87 – shares record with Jaromir Jagr). He also has many team records by a Tampa Bay Lightning player: Most assists in a single season (87), most points in single season (128), most points in a single calendar month (30) and so on.