Nikita Kucherov

Randall Buschmann





Nikita Kucherov, RW

Shoots: L

Height: 5-11

Weight: 178

Born: 1993-06-17

Hometown: Maikop, Russia

Drafted: 2011 by Tampa Bay Lightning, 58th Overall








October 2014 – Kucherov exceeded most expectations at training camp. His six goals led the NHL preseason and he showed the ability to mesh well on any line. Kucherov even saw some time with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan on the top line. Expect Kucherov to start the season playing on a line with Vladislav Namestnikov, as the two work very well together on the ice. Randalll Buschmann


February 2014 – While his offensive numbers aren’t eye-popping(eight goals, 14 points in 35 games) Kucherov continues to create multiple offensive opportunities despite playing with third line players(Nate Thompson and J.T. Brown) and receiving very little power play time. He also ranks eighth on Tampa Bay in ice time among forwards and is tied for second on the team with three game winning goals. With Steven Stamkos expected to return to Tampa Bay’s lineup sometime after the Olympic break, expect Kucherov(and likely Brown) to finally get ice time with a center capable of producing offense, likely either Tyler Johnson or Valterri Filppula. Randall Buschmann


January 2014 – Kucherov has been a Lightning roster mainstay since making his NHL debut two months ago. The young Russian phenom’s talents have been on display on a nightly basis, finding ways to get open and or create offense on a whim. He has seven goals and 10 points in 24 games while firing the puck 57 times, all of which has come with low power play time. Kucherov’s attention to the defensive side of the game has also been impressive. Kucherov has primarily been playing with one of his AHL linemates JT Brown and defensive center Nate Thompson and while the trio has proved to be an effective unit, Kucherov needs to be playing with players of his offensive ability to best showcase his skills. Expect the internship on the third line to pay off in a big way as Kucherov has already began the transformation from a one-dimensional scorer to a complete player. At this point, he’s quickly passed Brett Connolly on Tampa Bay’s depth chart. Randall Buschmann


November 2013 – With the Lightning seeking an offensive spark in their lineup after losing four straight games on the road, Kucherov was recalled from Syracuse. Kucherov scored his first NHL goal against  Henrik Lundqvist, on his first shift with his first shot. Early viewings of Kucherov indicate he’s closer than most originally thought of being NHL-ready, which is a great sign for those who have been patient with him in fantasy leagues. Randall Buschmann


November 2013 – As a first year pro, Kucherov is off to a blazing start. He was named the American Hockey League’s Rookie of the Month after netting eight goals and 15 points in only eight games. Six of his eight goals were scored on the powerplay, which also led the league. Kucherov also produced his first hat trick of his AHL career in the month of October. Kucherov has played almost exclusively on a line with Vladislav Namestnikov and J.T. Brown, and the trio has formed Syracuse’s new first line. Randy Buschmann


September 2013 – Kucherov was Tampa Bay’s best player during a recent prospect tournament which featured top prospects from Tampa Bay, Boston, Nashville and Florida. Kucherov led the tournament in scoring with four goals and seven points in three games and showed impressive chemistry on a line with Jonathan Drouin. Kucherov’s performance further cements his status as one of the Lightning’s top prospects. Despite his obvious top line skill set, expect him to start his first pro season in Syracuse this fall. Randy Buschmann


June 2013 – On most nights during his QMJHL rookie season, Kucherov has looked like a man among boys. Kucherov’s laser shot, in addition to his unbelievable speed and agility made him an extremely hard player for opposing defenders to contain. He finished with 26 goals and 53 points in only 27 games with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Kucherov’s strong play continued during the post-season with nine goals and 24 points in 14 games. Kucherov helped lead Rouyn-Noranda to the Conference finals before falling to the star studded Halifax Mooseheads. Kucherov’s seamless transition to the smaller sized North American rinks clearly indicates he is ready for the next step, which in his case is the American Hockey League. Kucherov’s game is built around pure offense, there is virtually no physicality to his game and he must develop some semblance of defensive acumen if he’s going to play for Jon Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Randy Buschmann


February 2013 – Nikita Kucherov was named the QMJHL Telus First Star of the Week (ending February 17th) after registering four goals and eight assists for 12 points, including a 5-point game where he had a dominant performance. Brendan Ross


February 2013 – Since being traded to Rouyn-Noranda Kucherov has 11 goals and 29 points in 15 games. Obviously, he is adjusting well to the North American game. Eric Daoust


November 2012 – Kucherov was signed by Tampa in the off season to a three year entry level deal and was convinced to come across to play in the QMJHL. His offence is well beyond junior, but he needs to get use to more contact, less space and playing well in his own zone. He was recently traded from the Quebec Remparts to the Huskies, after reeling off 10 points in six games. Jason Banks


April 2012 – Nikita Kucherov’s game is tailor-made for scoring finesse goals. He may be small but he has all the tools to make it a non-factor offensively. Kucherov has quick hands both in his shot release and his stick handling. He also is quick and shifty as a skater. Kucherov frequently puts himself in positions to score either from receiving passes or creating a good shooting opportunity on his own. He is still growing as a playmaker. However, where he needs to improve most on is his size and defensive play. His game has some similarities to Alexander Semin’s style of play. Kucherov is still young and it will take time for him to get used to playing against men in the KHL as opposed to the players in the junior league, the MHL. Every time he joins a higher-level league he must deliver on his offensive upside by providing points for his team. However, Kucherov will have a better chance of making the NHL and being successful if he becomes a more complete player in both ends. Eric Dauost


Fantasy Outlook: A


There’s some serious fantasy upside here and Kucherov is only scratching the surface of his potential. Don’t sleep on this Russian.




Kucherov scores his first NHL goal vs. NYR




Buy the latest Fantasy Prospects Report here.



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Mac Hollowell 5.5 7.0
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Carson Meyer 5.0 3.5
Jiri Patera 6.0 7.0
Ben Jones 6.5 7.0
Joseph Cecconi 4.5 6.0
Adam Raska 5.0 5.0