The Tampa Bay Lightning are gearing up for the future, inking crucial players who helped them earn one of the best regular season records in NHL history to extensions. The most recent part of the team's plan to build around their current core features their brick wall of a goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
On top of the Bolts' incredible season, Vasy earned his first Vezina Trophy after a number of nominations over the past few years. Although his year came to a wildly disappointing close, being swept by the Blue Jackets in the first round of the postseason, Vasilevskiy was certainly deserving of a new contract, and that's exactly what he just got.
Vasy is due to earn $76 million over the next eight seasons, good for an AAV of $9.5 million.
Vasilevskiy was signed to a 3-year, $10.5 million contract back in 2016. With just a year left before becoming a restricted free agent, Vasilevskiy and the Lightning were able to agree on a massive new deal for the Russian stud.
Vasilevskiy came on the scene in Tampa as a backup to Ben Bishop. When Bishop went down with an injury in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, Vasy got his first real shot to take over. Over the past three seasons he's not only emerged as a reliable option for the Bolts in between the pipes, but as one of the league's most dominant keepers.
So basically, the Lightning were blessed that Vasilevskiy turned into the player he is. Not many teams are lucky enough to bring in a goalie as a backup and then see them become an annual Vezina contender.
Vasy's new deal is certainly well-earned and will hopefully motivate the 25 year-old to help his team reach the elusive Stanley Cup they've been chasing.