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.
The teams will square off again Saturday night.
Game recap from Syracusecrunch.com.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reduced their training camp roster by four tonight, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The Lightning’s camp roster now sits at 36, with 19 forwards, 14 defensemen and three goaltenders.
Forwards Vladislav Namestnikov, Cedric Paquette, Philippe Paradis and Geoff Walker were assigned to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) following tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Walker must clear waivers.
The Crunch will open training camp on Tuesday, September 24 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reduced their training camp roster by 18 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The Lightning’s camp roster now sits at 40, with 23 forwards, 14 defensemen and three goaltenders.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (güd-LEV-skeez, KRISS-turs) to a three-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Gudlevskis was recently drafted in the fifth round, 124th overall, of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey.
Gudlevskis, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, played in 56 games with HC Riga in Russia’s top junior league, the MHL, last season, posting a 27-18 record with a .927 save percentage and a 2.09 goals-against average with three shutouts. He ranked fourth in the MHL for save percentage among goaltenders with more than seven games played and sixth for goals-against average. Gudlevskis’ three shutouts were tied for 10th in the league. He also appeared in three playoff games. Gudlevskis also played in two games with the Riga Dinamo of the KHL last season, his debut in Europe’s top league, posting a 1-1 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.18 goals-against average.