As was expected, it has been a slow August news-wise for the Tampa Bay Lightning. But seemingly out of nowhere, news broke that Brandon Hagel re-signed with the Bolts with an eight-year deal worth $6,500,000 annually.
Now that one of the major storylines for next offseason has been solved this offseason, where does this deal leave the Lightning moving forward?
Tampa Bay Lightning: New Blood
His first postseason run with the Lightning was a disappointment, but Hagel emerged last season as a bright young talent with 30 goals and 34 assists at the age of 24.
He entered the 2023-24 campaign with one year left on a three-year deal that only cost the Tampa Bay Lightning $1,500,000 per season. As a restricted free agent, Tampa was going to have leverage one way or the other if Hagel opted to wait until next offseason to sign a deal.
The deal makes sense for both sides. Hagel gets an eight-year deal worth a guaranteed $52 million over the life of the contract. The Lightning lock up a key piece of the franchise moving forward before his price tag goes up even more.
Getting Hagel under contract leaves one more key piece of business that loom over Tampa as the season progresses.
Steven Stamkos will have the deal he signed in 2016 end, and he will be an unrestricted free agent.
There is minimal reason to believe that Stamkos is going to try and leave next offseason actively, but the number and length he signs for will be significant.
We get it, the Lightning haven’t even played the 2023-24 season, but keep the following figure in mind. Right now, the salary cap stands at $83,500,000, and the Lightning will have $74,940,000 locked up for 2024-25, and that doesn’t count a future Stamkos deal.
It is widely believed the salary cap will bump up to $87,500,000 next offseason, which would leave Tampa with $12,560,000 in cap space with at minimum six roster spots to fill. If Stamkos resigned again for $8.5 million, Tampa would have $4 million to play with to fill five spots. If that number goes up or down, the options next offseason will vary wildly.
For now, though, Tampa fans should be happy to have locked up an up-and-coming star for a team-friendly price.