Nikita Kucherov understands he still has room for improvement.
The Syracuse Crunch forward, set to officially begin his rookie season Saturday night in Binghamton, is used to netting at least a point per game, if not more. But at just 20 years old, he knows he has to keep progressing to reach his goal of playing in the National Hockey League.
"It's hockey, it's my life," Kucherov said. "I'm going to do everything I can do to be in the NHL."
A little more than 24 hours before the puck drops on a new season, Syracuse Crunch Head Coach Rob Zettler still didn't know who was going to start between the pipes.
"They'll likely get equal time early on, and then we'll see where it goes," Zettler said.
The two candidates have more than 280 games and a dozen professional seasons between them, so Zettler has time to let it pan out.
Ten questions for this year's Lightning prospect season...
Syracuse finishes the preseason up.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss, but was also named the game's third star in defeat.
Syracuse will get an influx of 8 players from Tampa Bay, including veteran Dana Tyrell and ex-first rounder Brett Connolly. They'll have a week of practice before opening their season Saturday in Binghamton against the Senators.
Game recap from Stjohnsicecaps.com.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reduced their roster by 10 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The Lightning’s active roster stands at 23 players, with 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders.
The following is a list of players and where they have been assigned:
Mike Angelidis Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
J.T. Brown Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Brett Connolly Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Jean-Philippe Cote Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Jonathan Drouin Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Kristers Gudlevskis Florida Everblades (ECHL)
Dmitry Korobov Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Nikita Kucherov Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Matt Taormina Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Dana Tyrell Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
The Bolts will open their season on Thursday night when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins with puck-drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m.