Kucherov, Lightning haven't discussed new contract

Mike Carlson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It appears the focus inside the Tampa Bay Lightning boardroom, at least in terms of active negotiation, has been on Steven Stamkos - not their leading scorer.

Contract talks between pending restricted free-agent winger Nikita Kucherov and the Lightning have not commenced, his agent, Scott Greenspun, said, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

This is no slight or indicator against Kucherov, of course. As Stamkos closes in on unrestricted status, his burning contract case takes rank, affecting every decision made by Steve Yzerman and his brain trust.

But conversely, Kucherov's emergence as a front-line talent on a bargain-bin salary, and into a player that has stepped up to fill the offensive void in the absence of the captain these playoffs, will factor in Stamkos' future, as well.

Kucherov, who's three years younger than Stamkos, requires a massive raise from his current $700,000 salary - TSN's Craig Button even envisioning a multi-year contract comparable to the $60-million mega deal Vladimir Tarasenko brokered with the St. Louis Blues as a restricted free agent last summer, per Smith.

Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Cedric Paquette are among other key contributors who will also be looking to negotiate raises.

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Kucherov, Lightning haven't discussed new contract
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