No. 19: Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL as of late. One of the major reasons for this team getting hot has been the winger Kucherov. He is on an eight-game point streak, with 11 points during that streak. This streak has catapulted him to the leading scorer on the Lightning with 41 points on 20 goals. As for the team that Kucherov is a part of, the Lightning sit fourth in the Atlantic Division — though they were up to second a few days ago — and are averaging about 2.68 goals per game.
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Kucherov’s greatest asset is his shot. He has a fantastic shot, and is genuine goal scorer. He can play both wings with great upside for any team to build around. He has great possession numbers as well with a 53 percent Corsi mark. A for shots, he averages about 2.48 shots per game with a 16.8 shooting percentage. Even with Kucherov’s small build, he is a fantastic forward who deserves to be in the talks for the Hart trophy. However, he is very low in our countdown because of the fact he just does not have the stats of past winners. The players at the top are way above Kucherov. That’s not to say he cannot be in the running later in his career, or even this season if he goes on a tear. He has a very high ceiling and will be a top-10 player in the league in years to come.