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.