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Nikita Kucherov Out 8-10 Weeks After Successful Procedure

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov underwent a successful procedure this week and will miss 8-10 weeks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that forward Nikita Kucherov will be out approximately eight to ten weeks following a successful procedure yesterday on a lower-body injury that took him out of the lineup earlier this season. The Lightning did not provide details on the specific injury but it was considered serious the moment Kucherov came out of the lineup.

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The news is good from a standpoint that Kucherov won’t miss all of the season as he did last year. He joined the team during the playoffs and missed the entirety of the regular season in 2020-21. Because he joined after the regular season closed, his cap hit did not count for the Lightning and it was instrumental in them putting together a team that was able to make a run and win another Stanley Cup.

The bad news is his injury means he’ll be back well before the playoffs and the Lightning will not be able to use his cap space on a long-term bigger contract because the team will need to be cap compliant for when Kucherov returns.

Can Kucherov Still Help the Lightning While Gone?

The star forward has struggled with injuries in recent years and there has to be a growing concern that the Lightning have invested big money into a player that is missing more games than he’s actually playing. At the same time, head coach Jon Cooper said that when Kucherov is in the lineup, few impact the game the way he does. “But he’s a huge part of our team and the fabric of our team. So when he’s around, it’s just good for everybody here. Good for him, good for us. Anytime he’s giving guys pointers, people listen. I assume that’ll happen.”

Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning

So, while Kucherov will return with half the season left for the Lightning, he’ll be offering up tips to keep that team in contention. It will be interesting to see if they can manage as well without him. Last season they were just fine. This offseason, they lost a ton of pieces and Kucherov’s absence from the ice will be felt. 3-3-1 on the year, the Lightning appear to be a much different group than the one that won it all last year.

Next: Does Maple Leafs’ Coach Keefe Believe His Team Isn’t Good Enough?

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