Can Kucherov Be Stopped?

The Tampa Bay Lightning are on some kind of roll right now.

As of this writing, the team is first in the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, and the entire NHL with 68 points. What’s even crazier is that this club has yet to hit double digits in the loss column as they are currently 33-8-2.

From top to bottom, this team is as deep as they come. They have a high-octane offense, a deep defensive corps, and an All-star goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Things get even better for this hockey club because they also have the best player in the entire NHL. This particular player is lighting it up at in incredible pace and it seems like no one can stop him.

I am talking about 25-year-old forward Nikita Kucherov. In his team’s 4-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 9, Kucherov hit the 70-point mark with a goal and an assist.

Kucherov currently has 71 points on 21 goals and 50 assists. All he does is produce on a nightly basis and he does so in several different ways.

For starters, he can put the puck in the net. Kucherov has a sneaky good shot, a great slap shot, and an extremely accurate wrist shot. He’s also one of the toughest guys to stop on a breakaway.

Secondly, he is an assist machine. He currently leads the league with 50 assists and because of the team he plays on, that number is only going to increase.

One of the reasons why he racks up so many assists is his vision. he knows how to thread the needle with a pass and he also always seems to know where his linemates are going to be.

Another reason he has so many assists is because of the team’s offense in general. With guys like Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, J.T. Miller, and even defensemen Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh. Kucherov’s options seem to be limitless when it comes to who he can distribute the puck to.

Lastly, the fact that Kucherov is piling up the points really should not come as a surprise to anyone anymore. In fact, it is probably expected.

Last season, Kucherov finished with 100 points (39 goals and 61 assists). The season before he had 85 points (40 goals and 45 assists) and in the two seasons prior to that, he had 66 (30 goals and 36 assists) and 65 points (29 goals and 36 assists), respectively.

Since joining the NHL in the 2013-14 season, Kucherov has averaged 77 points a season. That kind of production is unbelievably consistent and the fact that he has been able to sustain those kinds of numbers is remarkable.

Believe it or not, things will probably get even better for the Lightning’s best player. For starters, he is still young.

At 25-years-old, he has yet to hit his prime. If he is playing this way right now, it will be interesting to see what he can do as he further matures.

As I mentioned above, he is one of the league’s most consistent point producers. Year in and year out all he does he rack up points.

Right now for the Lightning, everything is coming up aces. They are winning hockey games, they are the best team in the league and what makes them even better is that they have the game’s best player in Kucherov doing everything and more for them.

Hopefully, Kucherov can keep it up because if he can, this team is going to be unbelievably dangerous come playoff time.


Photo: 
Tampa Bay Times

 

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