The Tampa Bay Lightning cleared out cap space moving forward by selling off Ryan McDonagh, and now one of the biggest options on their to-do list is signing Mikhail Sergachev to a long-term extension. Heading into the final year of his current deal, the 24-year-old will be eligible to sign an extension this summer and will now be doing it with new representation.
While an agent change can sometimes bring a worry to a front office, the Lightning group is quite familiar with Milstein. He also represents Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy, two players that Tampa Bay had no trouble locking up. In fact, some might say that both Russian superstars gave the Lightning a discount of sorts–something that is a bit offset by the lack of state income tax–when they signed their current contracts, both for $9.5MM per season.
Kucherov signed an eight-year, $76MM contract just a few days after he became eligible in 2018, and Vasilevskiy took just a few weeks before signing an identical one (at least in years and total dollars) the following summer.
With McDonagh now in Nashville, there will be even more responsibility heaped on Sergachev (and fellow extension candidate Erik Cernak) in the coming years. Coming off a three-year bridge deal that carried a cap hit of $4.8MM, the young defenseman has a huge amount of leverage in any negotiation, and should see a monster number on his next deal. Not only does he sit 27th in scoring among all defensemen since he entered the league–ahead of names like Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Darnell Nurse–but his current contract is set to pay out $7.2MM this season. That means a matching qualifying offer would be necessary just to keep him in 2023-24, a season which would also be his last before unrestricted free agency.
It would be difficult to create better conditions for a massive long-term extension, another reason why the team needed to clear money off the back end this summer.