Two National Hockey League players will be long-term with injuries. On Wednesday, it was announced by the Associated Press that Tampa Bay Lightning superstar forward Nikita Kucherov of Maykop, Russia, will miss the regular season with hip surgery, and according to ESPN, Chicago Blackhawks forward Alexander Nylander of Sweden will miss four to six months with knee surgery.
The loss of Kucherov is a gigantic loss for the Lightning, the defending Stanley Cup champion, in the Edmonton bubble. In 2019-20, he was seventh in NHL scoring with 85 points (33 goals and 52 assists). Kucherov was also a +26 with 38 penalty minutes, 25 power-play points, six game-winning goals, 210 shots on goal, 19 blocked shots, 37 hits, 30 takeaways, and 59 giveaways. He led the Lightning in goals, assists, points, power-play points, and shots on goal.
In the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kucherov was even better as he had seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points in 25 games and was a 15. He also had 22 penalty minutes, one game winning goal, 92 shots on goal, seven blocked shots, 39 hits, nine takeaways, and 30 giveaways. Kucherov led all players in playoff scoring in assists, points, plus/minus, and shots on goal. Many felt Kucherov could have been considered for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player to his team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it was his teammate, Victor Hedman, who won the award instead.
The absence of Kucherov, will mean that other Lightning forwards such as Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos must step up. Stamkos missed the majority of the Stanley Cup Playoffs himself with a lower-body injury.
Nylander meanwhile had 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points in 65 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019-20. It was his first season in Chicago after three seasons to begin his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres. This past year, Nylander also was a -2 with 10 penalty minutes, one game-winning goal, two power-play points, 94 shots on goal, five faceoff wins, 14 blocked shots, 29 hits, 25 takeaways, and 23 giveaways.