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Lightning Sign Brandon Hagel to 8-Year Deal Worth $6.5M AAV

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brandon Hagel signs 8-year, $6.5M AAV extension; fan reactions vary over potential.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have made a significant move by signing forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year contract extension, valued at an average annual value (AAV) of $6.5 million. This decision has elicited a range of reactions from fans and NHL analysts. While some are taken aback by the size of the deal, particularly considering little repetition in Hagel’s current production level, others point out the potential for the contract to become more favorable over time.

One Twitter user highlighted that Hagel’s current point-per-game (PPG) rate stands at 0.75, suggesting that if he can elevate it to the range of 0.85-1.0, the contract might appear more justified in the long run. The Lightning seem to think he can do so. Hagel had NHL career highs in goals (30), assists (34), and points (64) in 2022-23 and the hope is he can continue that level of production or increase it.

Hagel, a 24-year-old forward, is on the cusp of concluding a three-year, $4.5 million contract signed with Chicago in 2021. His last season with the Blackhawks marked a breakthrough, and he was traded to the Lightning in 2022. This past season in Tampa he achieved career bests in a number of key statistical categories, including shots on goal, and average ice time per game. Additionally, his prowess on the ice was evident as he ranked second in the NHL for takeaways, showcasing his offensive skills, adeptness near the net, penalty-drawing abilities, and effectiveness in forechecking.

The new contract extension secures Hagel’s presence with the Lightning from the 2023-24 season onward. Noted for his speed and versatility as a top-six scoring winger, Hagel contributes both offensively and defensively to the team’s dynamics. Selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Hagel has amassed an impressive 132 points in 211 regular-season games, spanning his tenure with both the Lightning and Blackhawks. His value has also translated to playoff performances, with 11 points accrued over 29 games.

Can Hagel Live Up To This New Deal?

The contract’s apparent high value may trigger initial surprise, but it’s evident that Hagel’s performance and potential have factored heavily into the Lightning’s decision to commit to his long-term development within the organization. As is customary with such contracts, there will be naysayers. But, Hagel’s on-ice achievements over the past couple of seasons and what the Lightning believe he’ll do in upcoming seasons ultimately led to their comfort in getting this contract signed.

Next: Trade Likely as Avalanche Prep For Devon Toews Contract Talks

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