The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to lock up their key players. On the first day it was possible, the Lightning have signed Brayden Point to an eight-year contract extension worth a total of $76MM. That will take him to an average annual value of $9.5MM for the 2022-23 campaign after his current deal expires. GM Julien BriseBois was clear in his praise of the young forward:
Brayden is a key contributor to the Lightning’s success and one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. To be able to agree to terms with him on a long-term contract is great news for our organization going forward. Not only is Brayden a skilled player, he is also a fierce competitor who fits in well with the pedigree of our team. Our organization looks forward to having him be a big part of this team for many years to come.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports the full breakdown of salary and signing bonuses for Point:
- 2022-23: $3.5MM salary + $5.5MM signing bonus
- 2023-24: $5.0MM salary + $6.25MM signing bonus
- 2024-25: $5.0MM salary + $7.0MM signing bonus
- 2025-26: $5.0MM salary + $7.0MM signing bonus
- 2026-27: $4.0MM salary + $5.75MM signing bonus
- 2027-28: $3.0MM salary + $4.6MM signing bonus
- 2028-29: $3.0MM salary + $4.2MM signing bonus
- 2029-30: $3.0MM salary + $4.2MM signing bonus
Point, 25, was available to every team in the NHL during the 2014 draft, but it was Tampa Bay that used the 79th overall pick on him. Two years later he would debut with the club during the 2016-17 season, scoring 18 goals and 40 points en route to finishing tenth in the Calder Trophy voting. It was an impressive rookie season, but still, no one could guess at the level of play the Lightning were about to receive from their undersized center. The following year, he recorded 32 goals and 66 points, becoming the third star forward in Tampa Bay behind Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. A 92-point campaign and then two straight Stanley Cups came after that, establishing Point as a legitimate superstar and one of the very best centers in the entire league.
Even with a $76MM deal, Point appears to be taking a discount to stay with Tampa Bay. He will match the deals signed in 2018 by Kucherov and 2019 by Andrei Vasilevskiy, tying them for the 15th highest cap hit in the NHL with players like Mark Stone, Alex Ovechkin, and Jamie Benn. That $9.5MM appears to be something of an internal limit for the Lightning, one that has allowed them to build an incredibly dominant team.
Signed through the end of the decade, Point will be in his mid-thirties by the time he reaches free agency again. That means there is at least a decent chance that he spends his entire career in Tampa Bay. If he does, Point very well could go down as one of the best players in franchise history. This core group—Point, Kucherov, Stamkos, Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman—has already won two championships but does not appear to be breaking up anytime soon. All five players are under contract for at least three more seasons.