TAMPA, Fla. — With one year remaining on Brayden Point’s deal, the Lightning have locked up the NHL’s leading goal scorer the past two postseasons for another eight seasons while also giving him a raise.
General manager Julien BriseBois on Wednesday announced Point’s new deal will last eight years (from 2022-23) and carry an average annual value of $9.5 million.
“Brayden is a key contributor to the Lightning’s success and one of the most dynamic players in the NHL,” BriseBois said in a statement. “To be able to agree to terms with him on a long-term contract is great news for our organization going forward. “Not only is Brayden a skilled player, he is also a fierce competitor who fits in well with the pedigree of our team. Our organization looks forward to having him be a big part of this team for many years to come.”
It’s not the first time the organization has extended a player’s contract a year before the existing one “expires.” Tampa Bay did so with Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman, Conn Smythe winner Andrei Vasilevskiy and playoff-leading scorer Nikita Kucherov in previous years.
Point agreed to his current contract, with a three-year, $6.75 million average annual value, in late September 2019, after the start of training camp. But offseason hip surgery delayed his return to the ice until late October anyway.
The 25-year-old top-line center was set to become a restricted free agent in 2022-23.
Point’s contributions to the Lightning can’t be overstated. He led the league in goals the past two postseasons with 14 in both 2019-20 and 2020-21).
And since his second year in the league (2017-18), he’s finished in the top-three on the team roster in goal-scoring and points during the regular season. This past season, he led the team with 23 goals in 56 games.
His offensive production overshadows his grittiness on the ice. He gets to the high-scoring areas, fights for position and works well in small spaces. And every year, he just seems to get “better and better,” Blake Coleman said this past postseason.
Point’s game-winning goal against Florida in the opening game of the playoffs, his second of two in the game, was one of the biggest moments of the postseason, head coach Jon Cooper said. It was reminiscent of his winner in the fifth overtime of the Tampa Bay’s opening-game victory over Columbus in the 2020 postseason.
“You know games springboard your playoffs, and ironically it was Pointer that scored in the five overtimes (against the Blue Jackets), but it just created a mojo with our team,” Cooper said. “We ended up winning that second game and then that series, and it kind of almost catapulted us.”©2021 Tampa Bay Times. Visit at tampabay.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.