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Quick Strikes: Is Nikita Kucherov a Hart Trophy contender?

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A writer at Puck Prose seems to think so.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The writers at Puck Prose contend that despite not being a center, Nikita Kucherov’s Hart Trophy case is strong. "It’s difficult for a wing to be an MVP candidate in the NHL. Centers are typically seen as more valuable, and rightfully so. The extent of defense for most wings involves not looking bored and looking to get the puck out of the defensive zone. However, centers are asked to be a third defenseman, or at least be active in the defensive zone." [Puck Prose]

Marty was to Vinny as Stamkos is to... did everyone guess Kucherov? "Steven Stamkos may have finally found the Marty to his Vinny. Nikita Kucherov is only 24 years old and has only been in the NHL for half of the amount of time that Stamkos has, but these two have already shown the chemistry that we haven’t seen in a Lightning sweater in almost a decade." [Raw Charge]

Mishkin: Seven musings after seven Lightning games. "Playing with urgency and cleaner puck management has increased the amount of time the Lightning have had the puck - and decreased it for the opposition." [Lightning]

Lightning approaches decision time for Mikhail Sergachev. " Tampa Bay has until Sergachev's 10th game, which would be Tuesday in Carolina, to send him back to Windsor, or burn one year of his affordable, entry-level deal." [Tampa Bay Times]

We are following and updating this story: JT Brown ceases to raise fist during anthem, continues to raise awareness. "Brown thanked the Lightning organization, including his teammates, coaches, management, staff, and owner Jeff Vinik, for the support they gave him during a protest that occurred on September 28 and October 7, both against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise." [Raw Charge]

The Prospects/Crunch

El Seldo is back with his prospect thingie: Tampa Bay Lightning prospect report--Otto Sompii is back on the ice. "In international news, two baby Bolts were selected to play for Team WHL in the CHL Canada/Russia series. The series is a six-game playoff between the three CHL leagues and prospects for the Russian World Junior team." [Raw Charge]

Rookie Anthony Cirelli brings big game experience to Syracuse Crunch. "I've been to the (Memorial Cup) finals a couple times. Losing that second one was kind of hard and losing in the World Junior final there was tough," Cirelli said. "But just being a part of those teams, knowing those guys, playing through long playoff runs and playing those pressure games helped take my development to the next level." [Auburn Pub]

Stephens and Cirelli both off to hot starts with Crunch. "Anthony Cirelli is tied for the team lead with four points (1g, 3a) following a three-point effort in Week 2. Cirelli, a rookie, scored his first professional goal Friday against Belleville, icing the Crunch's win with an empty-netter. It also capped the first multi-point game of his career. Cirelli finished his week with an assist Saturday." [NHL.com]

We mourn with Canada