Brandon Hagel’s Price Tag Keeps Rising

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Brandon Hagel is playing on one of the absolute best value contracts in the NHL right now. The Tampa Bay Lightning are paying Hagel $1.5 million this season and next. By the time he is due for a new deal, he will be looking at a lot more than $1.5 million per year.

The great deal the Lightning have Hagel on now came at a steep price last season. Tampa Bay conceded two first round picks and two young NHL’ers. The return on Hagel last season may not have totally validated that price tag, but his performance this season certainly has.

Hagel is on pace for a 70 point season. 70 points would well surpass career highs of other Lightning support players like Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. He has been the beneficiary of playing with Nikita Kucherov and Bryaden Point all season and has been the perfect compliment to their games following the departure of Palat.

More impressive than the offensive numbers, Hagel has been making his name as the guy doing the dirty work in Tampa Bay’s top six. Hagel leads the NHL in takeaways with 65 and leads the NHL in takeaways per 60 minutes. By being turnover forcing machine, Hagel has created significantly more offensive possession for the top skaters on the Lightning.

When the Lighting acquired Hagel, they were not necessarily looking for a high-end scorer. They were looking for somebody who could score some and do a lot of the grunt work that somebody like Ondrej Palat did. Creating havoc and forcing turnovers has been exactly what they were looking for and the impact he is making has well exceeded the deal Tampa Bay have him on now.

Once free agency opens this summer, Hagel will be eligible for a new extension that can go into affect the following season. At the moment, Hagel’s price tag is only going up. He is probably looking at a minimum of $5 million per season, but realistically could get six or more. Until that time comes, the Lightning have to do everything they can to take advantage of this two-year window with one of the best values in the NHL.

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