Written By Josh Wegman


The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $9.5 million, the team announced Tuesday.
Kucherov, 25, is coming off a career year in which he finished third in the NHL with 100 points, compiling 39 goals and 61 assists.
He's on the last year of his bridge deal and was set to become a restricted free agent after next season, so roughly $4.7 million will remain his cap hit for the upcoming campaign. The $76-million extension will take effect in 2019-20.

Kucherov is now the team's highest-paid player, surpassing Steven Stamkos' $8.5-million cap hit.
With those two high-priced deals, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman could soon find himself in quite a bind. The Bolts project to have just over $13 million in cap room next season, per Cap Friendly, but many notable players will need to be re-signed, including unrestricted free agents Yanni Gourde and Anton Stralman, and restricted free agent Brayden Point.