Yanni Gourde signs contract extension, shines under spotlight

Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde signed a $31 million contract extension with the team this month and has shown his worth since.

This summer, Steve Yzerman stepped down as General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Julien BriseBois stepped in. This was a sudden announcement for Bolts Nation, only weeks ahead of the new season. Brisebois is in control, and recently signed center Yanni Gourde to a six-year, $31 million contract extension.

Only 18 games in, Gourde is third on the team in scoring averaging one point a game with 18 points. Gourde has been paired with Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson. Point leads the team in points and Johnson has six goals and six assists on the season. With a combined 49 points, this has proved to be the most successful line so far.

This extension is a huge step in Gourde’s young career. Only 26 years old, Gourde scored 64 points last year for the Bolts and had a plus/minus rating of 34. Since the announcement, Gourde has six points in six games and does not look like he will be letting up anytime soon.

While the signing is a great step for the player and the organization, there are a lot of moves that need to take place for the Bolts team to stay intact for next season.

According to Hockeybuzz.com, the Lightning has filled over $73 million in cap space for the next season. The cap has not been set yet for next year, but with the cap currently at $82 million, there does not seem to be much wiggle room for the Bolts.

Cedric Paquette, Adam Erne, Danick Martel, Brayden Point, and Slater Koekkoek are all restricted free agents starting in the 2019-20 season. Defenseman Anton Stralman, Braydon Coburn, and Dan Girardi are all unrestricted free agents.

Even though there are a lot of players that have an unknown future right now, not much will be set in stone until the trade deadline, or even as late as the offseason.

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The Lightning is atop of the Eastern Conference with 25 points, and second in the league behind the Nashville Predators. The Bolts play the Pittsburgh Penguins next on the road and then play the Philadelphia Flyers this Saturday.