October 11, 2016

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, 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.

Kucherov lead 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.

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