Lightning sign Brandon Hagel to 8-year, $52 million extension: Why the deal makes sense for both team and player

Vice President and General Manager Julian Bricebois announced Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year contract extension. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The contract carries an average annual value of $6.5 million and begins with the 2024-25 season.
  • The 24-year-old scored 30 goals and had 34 assists in 81 games for Tampa Bay last season.
  • The Lightning acquired Hagel in a trade with the Blackhawks this past March that included sending two first-round picks to Chicago.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

Why did Lightning expand Hugle?

It took Hagel some time to hit his stride at Tampa Bay after the 2022 deadline, but he thrived last year in his first full season with the club. He’s proven effective at rushing and forehand checking, hitting career-highs in the top six with the Lightning. Playing with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, two elite strikers, has obviously helped raise his level but has proven to be a complement to this duo. — Goldman

What does this mean for tampa bay

Looking at Hagle’s best year of his career built on an impressive 2021-2022 season in Chicago, he did get a raise after his current $1.5 million cap contract expired. It’s obviously quite a jump on AAV’s $5 million, but it’s a jump he’s taken and it should remain cost-effective all the time. He’s only 24, so there’s a lot less risk of a player signing a maximum contract for someone else when he hits free agency at 27 or 28. Additionally, incoming cap growth in 2024-25 and beyond should help.

The Lightning have been so hard on the cap the past few years that they’ve had to make some major rollouts including Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn. Hagel is considered somewhat of a surrogate for the former, and his years incarceration gives the administration some certainty about the cost there. — Goldman

What to do from the contract

At first glance, this might look like a very convenient deal for Hagel, and one that carries some shock because of its price and duration. But after the big breakout last season, this is likely to be a fairly good deal for the Lightning.

Hagel expects to be a solid top-six forward who can score 30 goals and 60 points while leading the game at an age when he must maintain a lot of his value throughout the contract term. The Lightning has his new mansion and with a high ceiling on the horizon, this deal should be seen as a win for the franchise. — Loschenzen

background story

Hagel’s career best in the 2022-23 season saw him finish third with Kucherov in team goals and tied for fourth in points with Mikhail Sergachev. He added a goal and four assists in the six games in Tampa Bay.

The Buffalo Sabers drafted Hagel in the sixth round in 2016, and he made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2020. The left winger has totaled 64 goals and 68 assists in 211 career games.

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(Photo: Kim Clement/USA Today)

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