Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Nikita Kucherov Jersey Card

The NHL landscape is changing, with new stars making names for themselves among the best goalies (Matt Murray), defensemen (Mikhail Sergachev), and goal scorers (Patrick Laine), while others are cementing their positions at the top (Mark Scheifele, Connor McDavid, Vladimir Tarasenko).

Among the latter is a player who started out making up the lost production of oft-injured Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and just never let up when he got back, Nikita Kucherov.

After a 40-goal (good for second overall), 45-assist, 85-point (fifth overall) season in 2016-17, Kucherov is showing that his constant climb in points (from 18 to 65 to 66 to 85) is no fluke, as he's set lofty goals for himself this year, including trying to net 60 goals.

A case can be made that he's been one of the five best players in the game since last season, and his statistics since last February are pretty convincing evidence of that.

Although it's unlikely that he'll keep scoring at a 20% clip, and it's very possible he'll hit a 10- or 15-game slump at some point, he has a legitimate shot at 60 goals, 60 assists and 100 points, all of which are amazing milestones in this day and age where scoring is at a premium.

Here he is wearing the Bolts' white (away) uniform, on the "Copper" variant of the jersey insert version of card #13 from Upper Deck's 2015-16 SP Game-Used Edition set, which I got from a box of repackaged cards from multiple sports last year:
It features a blue jersey swatch that is certified to have been used in an "official NHL game".

Internationally, he has won silver (2012) and bronze medals at the World Juniors, and bronze (2017) at the World Championships, suiting up for Team Russia.

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