The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping to put their playoff collapse behind them. They’ll be back in the hunt this season, keeping a key piece by reaching an agreement to extend Andrei Vasilevskiy’s contract another eight years. He’s set to be making north of $9 million AAV with another $45 million earned via bonuses.
This is huge news for Lightning fans and could also be deflating for anyone who faces them. It’s safe to say, Vasilevskiy has earned this mega-contract and will now be one of the highest-paid goalies within the league. Still only 25 years young, he’s got a lot left in the tank with hopes of helping the Lightning get over that inevitable playoff hurdle.
Last year, the Lightning owned much of the season, running away with the Presidents Trophy with 62 wins and 128 points. The next closest team was Washington with 104 points and 48 wins. Of course, that didn’t matter much in the playoffs when Tampa Bay was bounced in stunning fashion by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sure they had a couple of the most dangerous lines in hockey last year, but they also had a proven goalie. Vasilevskiy finished the regular season with a 39-10 record, saving 93 percent of shots faced coupled with six shutouts. Despite the Lightning’s playoff woes, Vasilevskiy was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie during the season.
He was drafted by the Lightning in 2012 with the 19th overall pick and has paid dividends since. The one thing he has yet to figure out is staying consistent throughout the playoffs. He’s an average 15-15 in playoff games, letting up nearly half a goal more compared to the regular season.
Vasilevskiy is regarded as one of the top goalies and has seen plenty of action during his career. Now, he’s finally getting the contract to reflect his performance, and the Lightning will have another shot at beating the league to hoist the Cup.