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Comparing Nikita Kucherov to Lightning franchise records for assists and points in a season

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Because it’s fun.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov became the first player since Jaromir Jagr in 2000 to hit the 70 point plateau in his first 43 games of a season. He actually made it to the 71 point mark last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a goal and an assist. Through these first 43 games, Kucherov has put himself on a pace for 95 assists and 135 points.

That pace would shatter the Lightning records in assists and points in a season. Vincent Lecavalier holds the Lightning franchise record for points in a season with 108 points set in 2006-07. Brad Richards set a franchise record for assists in a season with 68 in 2005-06 and Martin St. Louis matched that total in 2010-11.

What I want to do here is look at those three seasons and compare those players’ first 43 games to what Kucherov has done through his first 43 games. What kind of pace were they on at that point. Did their pace pick up over the rest of the season or did it slump? Can it give us any insight into what Kucherov what might accomplish over the rest of the season? Let’s find out!

Nikita Kucherov So Far

Kucherov through 43 games: 21 goals, 50 assists, 71 points.

Kucherov on pace for: 40 goals, 95 assists, 135 points.

Multi-Goal Games: 2

Multi-Assist Games: 12

Multi-Point Games: 22

3+ Point Games: 10

Most Points in a Game: 5

Pointless Games: 9

Vincent Lecavalier’s 108 Points

Lecavalier through 43 games: 23 goals, 31 assists, 54 points.

Lecavalier on pace for: 44 goals, 59 assists, 103 points

Multi-Goal Games: 1

Multi-Assist Games: 7

Multi-Point Games: 12

3+ Point Games: 5

Most Points in a Game: 5

Pointless Games: 9

Lecavalier actually picked up his pace in goal scoring and points production, with his assist rate dropping a bit over the rest of the season. Lecavalier finished the season with 52 goals and 56 assists for 108 points. His 52 goals secured him the Rocket Richard trophy. He also finished 4th in the Hart Trophy voting and was a 2nd team All-Star at the end of the year.

Up to this point, Lecavalier had only had one multi-goal game when he recorded a hat trick against the Atlanta Thrashers. Incidentally that was also his points high point for the season as he also had two assists for a five point game. Lecavalier’s stick got really hot starting in the 44th game as he scored six goals over the next five games on a five-game goal streak. He also scored 16 goals over the next 16 games.

Lecavalier finished the season with 27 multi-point games, 11 3+ point games, and 15 pointless games.

Brad Richards’ 68 assists

Richards through 43 games: 12 goals, 29 assists, 41 points.

Richards on pace for: 23 goals, 55 assists, 78 points

Multi-Assist Games: 5

Multi-Point Games: 9

3+ Point Games: 1

Most Points in a Game: 3

Pointless Games: 12

Richards ended his first 43 games of the season on a six-game pointless streak. But things picked up for him quickly afterwards as he went on a six-game point streak starting in the 44th game of the season. From February on though, he started pumping out the assists on his way to setting a new franchise record beating out the previous record of 57 assists that he set with Vinny Prospal during the 2002-03 season.

From February first to the end of the season, Richards recorded 35 assists in 29 games which would be a 98 assist pace over 82 games. He had four games of this stretch where he recorded three assists in a game, including his points high for the season of four when he had a goal and three assists against the Buffalo Sabres.

Richards didn’t win any major awards for the season, with his only finalist appearance a 2nd place finish for the Lady Byng trophy.

Martin St. Louis’ 68 assists

St. Louis through 43 games: 18 goals, 35 assists, 53 points.

St. Louis on pace for: 34 goals, 67 assists, 101 points

Multi-Assist Games: 10

Multi-Point Games: 15

3+ Point Games: 5

Most Points in a Game: 5

Pointless Games: 12

St. Louis actually held his assists and goal scoring pace pretty well through the end of the season finishing with 31 goals, 68 assists, and 99 points, just missing the 100 point plateau for the 2nd time in his season. Playing a lot with Steven Stamkos certainly helped St. Louis rack up the assists during 2010-11.

St. Louis had multi-assist games 17 times total in the season. He only surpassed two assists once with a spectacular 5 assist game against the Philadelphia Flyers to tie the franchise record for assists in a game.

Conclusions

The NHL hockey season is a long and arduous one. It is hard for even the best players in the world to bring it every night for 82 games and keep it rolling night after night. It is interesting to note though that Lecavalier and Richards both bumped up their scoring in the latter parts of the season while St. Louis held things steady.

Kucherov put up the fourth-highest assist total and third highest point total for a Lightning player last season. He’s well on pace to break both of his career highs and take over two top spots on the Lightning franchise leader board for season records. Even if he falls off of his current pace a little bit, he would only need 18 assists and 37 points in the next 39 games to tie both records.