Tampa Bay Lightning Nikita Kucherov Out

Nikita Kucherov
PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 11: Tampa Bay Lightning Right Wing Nikita Kucherov (86) skates during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 11, 2020, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost Nikita Kucherov and several other players before their game against the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night. Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos have also been ruled out. The team announced the newest injuries early Thursday morning.

Nikita Kucherov Out Among Others

The three newest additions to hit the Lightning injured list are three of their top-six scoring options. Kucherov leads the team with 27 goals and 70 points in 56 games. Stamkos is second with 26 and 59, respectively. Cirelli has been an effective option as well. Their losses won’t be easy to replace. The team still has quality scorers like Brayden Point and Alex Killorn but long-term injuries can’t happen as the team approaches the trade deadline. Injuries limit the team’s ability to trade depth for NHL reinforcements.

The Lightning is in a tough spot with these injuries. They have a comfortable lead on the team in third place in the Atlantic Division but any slowdown could cause problems. The team will need its depth players including Tyler Johnson to play more minutes and supply some of that scoring lost with stars on the injured list.

What This Means Moving Forward

Tampa Bay’s depth chart will look very different for tonight’s game against Edmonton. The team has recalled Alexander Volkov from the Syracuse Crunch. Depth players Mathieu Joseph and Mitchell Stephens also look probable for tonight. One other option would be Alex Barre-Boulet who has 19 goals and 44 points in 48 games games in the AHL.

We don’t know the extent of the injuries at this time. Tampa Bay could struggle with significant absences from Kucherov and company. The Toronto Maple Leafs are only a handful of games back and the Florida Panthers are looking to make a move as well. The Lightning will need their stars back if they are going to remain a true Stanley Cup contender.

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