Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov warms up before Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series against the Washington Capitals, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning have signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $9.5 million in salary and annual bonuses. The team announced the deal Tuesday. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Lightning sign Kucherov to 8-year extension through 2026-27

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $9.5 million in salary and annual bonuses.

The team announced the deal Tuesday. The 25-year-old would have been a restricted free agent next summer with one year left on a deal that will pay him nearly $4.8 million for the 2018-19 season. Now he is set to stay with the Lightning through the 2026-27 as the team’s highest-paid player once the extension kicks in after next year.

“I’m truly grateful to sign this contract extension to keep me in Tampa for another eight seasons,” Kucherov said in a statement. “I’d like to thank the Lightning organization and all of the fans for the support since making the Bay Area my home.”

The two-time All-Star had 39 goals and 100 points with a plus-15 rating last season. He was third in the NHL in points, sixth in assists and tied for ninth in goals. He averaged 19:49 in ice time to lead all forwards for the Lightning, who lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to Washington.

The deal also means the Lightning have locked up a core group of players younger than 30 years old.

Tampa Bay now has Kucherov, captain Steven Stamkos, defenceman Victor Hedman, left wing Alex Killorn, left wing Ondrej Palat, centre J.T. Miller, centre Tyler Johnson and defenceman Ryan McDonagh all signed through at least the 2021-22 season.

“My thought is we get the opportunity to open negotiations after July 1 of their last year of their contract, let’s sit down with the players and their agents, and see if we can get something done early,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters.

“From a player’s perspective, I think it eases their minds and they can plan their future a little bit and settle in. And from the team’s perspective, it helps us going forward knowing the cap number of the players, knowing the commitment that we have, to make other decisions accordingly.”

Just Posted

Red Deer County backs Canadian Finals Rodeo

Council approved $50,000 for the event’s inaugural event in Red Deer

Dance auditions held for 2019 Canada Winter Games

The 2019 Canada Winter Games committee is holding auditions for volunteers between… Continue reading

Red Deer convenience store robbed at gunpoint

Police still searching for suspect who robbed 7-Eleven at 40th Avenue and 38th Street

2019 Winter Games seeks artisan vendors

A winter market will be set up on the 2019 Canada Winter Games festival grounds

UPDATED: Stretching for a good cause at Central Alberta Yogathon in Red Deer

Funds raised go to Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre

Halifax researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada for first time

HALIFAX — For the first time in Atlantic Canadian waters, scientists have… Continue reading

Liberal riding association president blindsided by MP’s defection

OTTAWA — The president of an Ontario Liberal riding association says he… Continue reading

Pope gives bishops more decision-making options

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis decreed on Tuesday that ordinary Catholics should… Continue reading

Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain

TRENTON, N.C. — When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category… Continue reading

Glad company: Trailer for Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

LOS ANGELES — A beloved nanny is preparing to take to the… Continue reading

Jeremy Dutcher wins Polaris prize for ‘Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa’

TORONTO — Jeremy Dutcher has won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales rose 0.9 per cent in July

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales increased 0.9 per cent in… Continue reading

China raises tariffs on $60B of US goods in technology fight

BEIJING — China on Tuesday announced a tariff hike on $60 billion… Continue reading

Most Read