Another summer, another eight-year extension for one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s core players.
This time, it’s Brandon Hagel’s turn, where his contract totals $52 million, working out a cap hit of $6.5 million per year. The deal will start in the 2024-25 season, when his current deal at a $1.5 million cap hit expires.
This contract includes trade protection in the final six years, starting with a full no-trade clause in 2026-27 and 2027-28, which turns into a 16-team no-trade list for the latter half of the contract.
Hagel, 25, was set to be a restricted free agent next summer, but this is a significant contract for him and the Bolts, as he will be playing for them in the prime of his career. This deal carries from his age-26 season to his age-33 season.
Lightning Believe Hagel Will Build on Breakout 2022-23
Having originally been acquired by Tampa in the 2022 trade deadline, he has since put up 71 points (34 goals, 37 assists) in 103 regular season games while adding another 11 (3 goals, 8 assists) in 29 playoff games. 30 of his goals and 34 of his assists in the regular season came in his last campaign, where he finished 4th on the team in scoring.
While his start with the Lightning has been rather slow, his scoring numbers have improved to what he was hoping to get when he was one of the top players in the WHL, showing why Tampa gave up two first round picks, Taylor Raddysh, and Boris Katchouk to acquire him.
With the contract, general manager Julien BriseBois is continuing to look at young players that fit the system, gives up a significant return, and then signs them to a long-term extension at a nice cap hit. The risk here is that Hagel has only been a true top-line forward for just one, and maybe two, seasons. But it’s easy to see why the Lightning see him as part of their future—they see an all-around player with more room to improve in later years.
Tampa Bay Looks to Continue Competing Down the Road
The eight-year extension gives Hagel a shot at more regular time on the power play with established stars in Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point. It is not out of the question that Hagel can rack up at least 70 points in the future, but if that doesn’t happen, the salary cap ceiling is only going to go up, so the $6.5 million cap hit is entirely reasonable for the prime of his career.
The extension adds on to the other eight-year extensions that were signed by other Lightning players, like Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli, and Erik Černák. The intent from the Lightning is clear that they are looking to build on this next core of players for the rest of the decade.
Even when Stamkos (33), Kucherov (30), and Victor Hedman (32) go deeper into their 30s, the extensions that BriseBois has given out to his young players, looking for a third Stanley Cup in the Jon Cooper era.
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