The Tampa Bay Lightning not only managed to get restricted free agent Brayden Point re-signed before the start of the regular season, they did so for what appears to be an incredibly team-friendly contract.
The Lightning re-signed Point to a three-year, $20.25 million contract on Monday afternoon that will carry a $6.75 million cap hit.
“We are very pleased to re-sign Brayden today,” general manager Julian BriseBois said in a team statement. “He is the consummate professional with an unwavering commitment to team success, growing as a player and improving every day. It is that mindset that makes him an outstanding role model, teammate and person, on and off the ice. We look forward to getting Brayden back on the ice with his Lightning teammates as soon as possible.”
In the short-term this is an amazing bargain (even with the Florida tax break) for the Lightning when you consider how good Point already is, and how Toronto just committed more than $10 million per year to a very similar player in Mitch Marner. Anytime a Stanley Cup contender can save a few million under the cap with one of its top players it makes building around them and maintaining a championship caliber roster just a little bit easier.
He will still be a restricted free agent at the end of this contract, while his actual salary in year three will be $9 million. That will significantly impact his next qualifying offer from the Lightning.
Assuming Point continues on his current career path his next deal should be a massive one, but for a bridge deal this is great value for a Lightning team that looked like it was going to have a tight salary cap crunch this offseason. They not only managed to get through it relatively unscathed, they still had room to re-sign one of their most important young players.
Point, 23, has increased his offensive production each of his first three years in the league and is coming off of a massive 41-goal, 92-point season. What makes him even more valuable is that along with the offense he is also an outstanding defensive player and has finished in the top-10 in Selke Trophy voting in each of the past two seasons.