Tampa Bay Lightning right-winger Nikita Kucherov has been having a phenomenal 2018-2019 season. Despite the rather slow start for his standards, Kucherov has been piling up points at a much faster rate than anyone else in the league right now.
His point frequency and consistency has been so high this year that the 25-year-old joined some elite company on Thursday night. After recording an impressive two goals and two assists in a 5-4 comeback victory against the Detroit Red Wings, Kucherov has now hit the 115 point plateau. With this, the Russian native has become the first player to notch at least 115 points in a single season since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby finished the 2006-2007 season with 120 points according to NHL.com.
The scariest part about Kucherov’s accomplishment is that he still has 11 more games left to increase his point total even more. Kucherov is currently on pace to finish with about 130 points. If he does so, he’ll become the first player to record 130 points in a season in over 20 years. The last player to reach this plateau was Penguins forward Mario Lemieux who finished with 161 points back in the 1995-1996 season according to NHL.com.
At the moment, Kucherov is running away with this year’s Art Ross Trophy. His 115 points is 15 tallies ahead of Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid who currently has an even 100 points. McDavid has won the Art Ross Trophy the previous two seasons. Kucherov also leads the league in assists with 80 helpers on the season.
Over this past Summer, Kucherov signed a contract extension with the Lighting. The details of the contract included a cap hit of approximately $9.5 million a season for eight years according to Cap Friendly. With Kucherov not only making less money but also producing more points than other superstars such as McDavid who is currently raking in $12.5 million a season and Chicago Blackhawks right-winger Patrick Kane who is earning $10.5 million a year according to Cap Friendly. Former Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman may have gotten away with a steal by signing Kucherov for less than $10 million a season.
In other Lightning related news, forward Steven Stamkos also set a record on Thursday evening against the Red Wings. After recording a goal during the contest, the Lightning’s captain tied Vincent Lecavalier for most goals in franchise history with 383 according to NHL.com.
The Lightning’s next game will be at home against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Kucherov will have yet another opportunity to continue to increase his point total and set more records.