Lightning sign franchise netminder Vasilevskiy to eight-year extension

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The Tampa Bay Lightning locked up one of the faces of their franchise for the foreseeable future, as they signed goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension on Monday. Vasilevskiy’s agent, Dan Milstein, made the announcement via his Twitter account. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Vasilevskiy’s new cap hit will come in at around $9.5 million per year. The contract also comes with almost $45 million in bonuses.

The 25-year-old is now under team control for the next nine years because he still has one year remaining on his current deal which will pay him $3.5 million next season. He still isn’t the goalie with the highest AAV in the league, as that honor belongs to Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who’s cap hit comes in at $10.5 million per season.

He’ll also earn $500,000 less per year than Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed with the Florida Panthers over the summer. But Vasilevskiy is in a comfortable situation surrounded by great players, so he’s probably more than happy to save a little money for his teammates.

“I’m very excited to sign this extension with the Lightning today,” Vasilevskiy said in a team release. “I’d like to thank the entire organization, including Mr. Vinik, Julien BriseBois and the great Bolts fans, for making this such a great place to play and live for me and my family.”

On the ice, Vasilevskiy has been terrific. He won the Vezina Trophy this year by posting an incredible 39-10-4 record with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage last season.

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As important as it was for the Lightning to lock him up, there’s no denying that this new deal will make things even tighter for them on the salary cap next season. They Bolts still have to sign restricted free agent Brayden Point, who will command a significant raise from his entry-level contract. General manager Julien BriseBois will have to get creative in order to fill out his roster.

As you can tell from the salary breakdown above, the large bonuses make this deal very lockout proof.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.