Tampa Bay Lightning 2011 second round pick Nikita Kucherov confirmed via Twitter (@Kucher86) this morning where he’s going to play next season: “Quebec Remparts !!!”
Remparts Coach/General Manager Patrick Roy drafted Kucherov with the 43rd pick in the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft as either a playmate or replacement for Sabres first round pick Mikhail Grigorenko. Kucherov and Grigorenko are good friends and played on the same line together with Russia’s U-20 side last year in the World Junior Championships. The third member of that line, Sergei Gusev, is a Lightning draft pick who will remain with CSKA in Russia.
As a winger for CSKA’s junior club last year with Gusev, Kucherov had 24 goals and 43 points in just 23 games. He had three goals and four points in seven playoff games before a shoulder injury knocked him out of action. That same shoulder kept him from participating in the Lightning’s prospect development camp in early July, though he’s expected to be ready for the start of the QMJHL season in September.
A dynamic offensive weapon, Kucherov is expected to put up big numbers in the Q this year, especially if Grigorenko is at his side. Last year Grigorenko had 40 goals and 85 points in 59 games for Quebec.