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Agent: No contract talks expected this summer, but Kucherov 'wants to stay'

Scott Audette / National Hockey League / Getty

After falling short of their Stanley Cup aspirations in the Eastern Conference Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning's focus shifts to the draft, roster players in need of contracts, and free agency.

While it's an important period for any team, one name in particular sticks out above the rest on the Lightning's ledger, as superstar Nikita Kucherov is eligible for a contract extension July 1.

Kucherov, a restricted free agent after next season, has one year at $4.67 million remaining on his bridge deal signed in 2016. Based on his incredible body of work since inking the team-friendly contract, it's safe to assume the 24-year-old is due for a hefty raise, but it doesn't appear his summer will be occupied with negotiations.

Kucherov's agent, Dan Milstein, told Joe Smith of The Athletic that the Lightning and Kucherov haven't begun talks on a new deal and aren't expected to until the 2018-19 season starts.

It doesn't appear Lightning fans have reason to worry, though.

"He wants to stay in Tampa - he doesn't want to go anywhere," Milstein said. "Worst case, it's arbitration, they're not going to lose him. Both sides want him to be in Tampa."

Since signing his last contract, Kucherov has blossomed into one of the league's premier offensive threats. In 154 games played, he ranks third among all players in goals (79), second in points (185), and third in points per game (1.20).

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