The Tampa Bay Lightning have hit the news wires again by signing 21-year-old goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, to a three-year contract extension worth $3.5-million per season. The signing comes after the Lightning already re-signed Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman to long-term deals.
And there's more! We've signed Vasy to a three-year contract extension.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 1, 2016
Without a doubt, Vasilevskiy is the future starter for the Lightning with Ben Bishop’s days in Tampa Bay numbered. In 40 career regular season games, Vasilevskiy holds an 18-15-1 record with a 2.60 goals against average and a .913 save percentage with two career shutouts.
But it was his playoff play last season – stepping in for Bishop – that made him even more of a priority for the Lightning. He stepped in and played eight games for the Lightning during their playoff run. While he did have a losing record – at 3-4-1 – his 2.76 goals against average and .925 save percentage showed Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay front office just how important of a piece he is for the future.
In a series with the Penguins that seemed to be dominated by Pittsburgh, Vasilevskiy was the main reason why Tampa Bay was able win a couple of games before the Penguins went on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
With Vasilevskiy just 21-year-old, it seems as though the Lightning are set to lock up the core of their future with long-term deals.
Originally a draft pick of Tampa Bay in 2012 – 19th overall – Vasilevskiy will have another three years to prove just how vital he is for the future growth of the Lightning franchise.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.