Nikita Kucherov Reaches 700 Career Points

Nikita Kucherov celebrates after scoring a goal. Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There was one bright spot in a game the Tampa Bay Lightning would like to forget. Star winger Nikita Kucherov reached 700 points in a 7-3 beatdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Drafted in the second round (58th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, the Russian native has quickly blossomed into one of the top players in the league today. Look no further than the fact he reached 700 points sixth fastest, behind only five surefire Hall of Famers. Those are Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin.

Kucherov also became the fastest in Lightning history to reach that milestone. His 621 games surpassed teammate Steven Stamkos, who reached the 1,000-point and 500-goal milestones earlier this season.

Bursting onto the scene with a goal on his first NHL shift, Kucherov has been a player to watch every season since making his big league debut on November 24, 2013. He collected 65 points or more in each season but his rookie year. That was mainly a product of being healthy scratched toward the end of the season.

Since then, Kucherov has been a force to be reckoned with when healthy. After three seasons notching between 65 and 85 points, he broke the 100-point plateau in 2017-18. He followed that up by scoring 128 points, the most by a Russian-born player in a single season. That earned him the Art Ross and Hart trophy and the Ted Lindsay award.

After having a postseason to forget in 2018-19, including a one-game suspension for a blindside hit, he reached new heights in the next two. His 34 points led the league in 2020, while he notched 32 to lead all players in 2021. Both seasons ended with the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup.

Last season, Kucherov had nearly 70 points (69) in 47 games after returning from an early season injury. In the playoffs, he collected 27 points to help the Lightning reach their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final.

This season, the Lightning superstar has 85 points in 59 games played. If he can remain healthy, it’s not a stretch to say that Kucherov should reach and likely surpass 100 points for the third time in his career.

As one of the league’s most gifted players, it’s not a stretch to say that Kucherov will reach 1,000 points in a matter of time. Until then, congratulations to Nikita Kucherov on reaching and then surpassing 700 points in an already illustrious career.

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Lauren Burg

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer for “Inside the Rink.” A lifelong Tampa Bay Area resident, she graduated from the University of South Florida’s world-renowned journalism program in December 2009. While in college, she discovered hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She quickly became a passionate fan, attending many games over the years. She also experienced an All-Star game in 2018, numerous road games, and, most recently, the Bolts back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Since graduating college, she’s been working hard to combine her two loves, writing and hockey, hoping to one day make that her full-time career. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events (both home & road when possible), taking photos, and traveling.

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