“Give him the GM of the year, right now.”
These were bold words about GM Steve Yzerman, spoken by NHL.com’s Dan Rosen during Sportsnet’s television coverage on the opening day of free agency immediately after announcing the news that defenseman Victor Hedman has signed an eight-year extension with the Lightning worth $63 million, which carries an AAV of $7.875 million.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Victor Hedman to an eight-year contract extension,” Yzerman said in a statement released by the team. “Victor has matured into one of the top defensemen in the NHL and coming off the recent re-signing of our captain, Steven Stamkos, we've secured another extremely important member of our team.”
“I'm very appreciative of both Victor and [agent] Peter Wallen's efforts to reach an agreement with us at this time.”
Last season, Hedman scored 47 points in 78 games, leading the Lightning d-corps in goals, assists, points and plus/minus. He also led the team in plus/minus, average time on ice, takeaways and blocked shots. According to the Lightning, his plus-21 rating set a career high.
After Steven Stamkos elected not to become an unrestricted free agent with an eight-year extension on Wednesday, Yzerman moved quickly to lock up another core piece of the team for very reasonable numbers.
Hedman's agent Peter Wallen said deal with #tblightning came together "super, super fast." "Both sides wanted it real bad."— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) July 1, 2016
Hedman is doing it.
Couldn't be more excited to stay in Tampa for another 8 years! Let's do this..— Victor Hedman (@heds77) July 1, 2016
Hedman: "For me, Stammer, we want to win together, that was obviously a big goal, to go all the way together with Tampa." #tblightning— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) July 1, 2016
And everybody is loving it, including JT Brown’s wife. Brown signed an extension of his own recently.
You guys, Steve Yzerman is clearly a Jedi.— Lexi LaFleur Brown (@lexilafleur) July 1, 2016
#Arbys makes an appearance yet again!
He only responds in lightning bolt emojis, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The signing of Stamkos set the bar for the rest of team to follow. It would not have been far-fetched to see Hedman receive the same numbers as Stamkos, so to see it’s below the captain’s is encouraging, and speaks volumes to the fact that these players truly believe in their team, and are willing to take less than what they would’ve certainly made in the open market.