Tampa Bay Lightning talent Nikita Kucherov is still without a contract, and the threat of an offer sheet for the restricted free agent – however unlikely – looms.

“If anybody’s going to get offer-sheeted, you would think this would be the guy,” said NHL Insider Bob McKenzie during a Monday morning radio segment on Montreal’s TSN 690. “Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning are really, really up against it in terms of the cap, and that’s going to continue to be the case. Next year, Drouin is a restricted free agent. Palat and Tyler Johnson are both restricted free agents. So they’ve got three critical players that are coming up for big raises next year. Now you’ve got Kucherov sitting here; who, if you were to give him market value, which would be anywhere between $6-7 million dollars a year on a six or seven or eight-year deal. They’re not in a position to give him that.

“So I’m sure Tampa Bay would say, ‘Offer-sheet him if you want, but we’re going to match no matter what.’ Fair enough. Boy oh boy. What a nightmare scenario that would be for the Lightning if someone did.