The Tampa Bay Lighting have re-signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a two year, $2.9 million dollar contract, it was announced today.
Andrej Sustr signs $2.9-million (total), two-year deal with Tampa Bay— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2015
Sustr had been making $874,125 on his previous contract, so he earns a modest raise after putting up 13 points in 72 regular season games and appearing in 26 more playoff games during the run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now with 184 professional games under his belt to this point in his career, Sustr was still a bit green this year, particularly in the playoffs where he and Matt Carle were victimized more often than not especially by the Chicago Blackhawks. There was some concern about his performance down the stretch, but it's important to remember that coming out of the NCAA, the 2014-15 NHL season was the most games Sustr has played in a season by far. 72 regular season games plus 26 more in the playoffs is 98 total. His previous high? 58 games played split between the Syracuse Crunch and Lightning in 2013-14, and 50 games in the USHL in 2009-10.
He needs to get stronger, not just to handle hard battles around the net, but to endure the rigor of a long NHL regular season and the expected deep playoff runs Tampa Bay will be making over the next two seasons.
His regular season saw much better results playing primarily with Jason Garrison, Victor Hedman, and Mark Barberio; with Barberio out of the picture, finding him a third-pair partner that isn't Matt Carle might be the key to his success in 2015-16. His size and reach are still his best attributes, but Tampa Bay is certainly hoping he'll develop better positioning, awareness, and decision-making as he continues to earn more professional experience.