NHL Rumors: Predators … Lightning and Kucherov … Butcher

NHL Rumors: Predators … Lightning and Kucherov … Butcher

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Nikita Kucherov
On the Nashville Predators …

Adam Vingan of the Tennessean: With Mike Fisher retiring, the Predators will have Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok and Colton Sissons down the middle. Frederick Gaudreau is a possibility as well.

The Predators will need to name a new captain with Fisher retiring – Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are candidates – as well as an alternate after James Neal was selected by Vegas.

The Predators still have about $5.4 million in salary cap space if they wanted to add to their roster.

On the Tampa Bay Lightning …

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: Nikita Kucherov is entering the second year of his three-year deal that carries a $4.76 million salary cap hit. On his next deal, Kucherov could look to double his salary. He’ll have more leverage next time around and will be arbitration eligible.

Kucherov’s agent Dan Milstein said it’s too early to talk about his next contract, but added that he hopes to remain with the Lightning long-term.

“We’ll get him a good contract that Nikita will earn, that’s satisfactory for both sides,” Milstein said. “We’re not going to try and break the bank. We’ll see.”

On Will Butcher …

Scott Powers of The Athletic Chicago: Will Butcher’s agent recently said his client will become an unrestricted free agent later this month. Craig Custance recently reported that the Detroit Red Wings will be among the teams interested in Butcher.

Butcher’s camp would listen to the Chicago Blackhawks if they came calling.

“We are mostly just watching the calendar for now, but Butcher will be looking for a team that presents a plan for him to be an NHL player over the next couple years,” Bartlett wrote. “If the Blackhawks call with some ideas, we will certainly listen. Not specific to Butcher (or even the Hawks), but teams who are close to the cap need young cost effective players to step into the lineup. I’d imagine this will be one scenario we discuss with teams in a couple weeks.”