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Quick Strikes: How does the John Gibson contract affect Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning?

The Tampa Bay Lightning have two seasons before Andrei Vasilevskiy gets paaaiiiiidddd

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry (10) looks to shoot as Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and center Brayden Point (21) defend during the first period at Honda Center. 
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Westshore Mall has a bug problem and they’re blaming the Tampa Bay Lightning of all people!

Craft beer drinking! That’s cool, right? Well you can take part in the Bolts brew Fest at Amalie Arena on August 17th. [NHL dot com]

Craft beer enthusiasts can purchase a VIP Admission ticket which will allow them access into the event one hour prior to general admission. VIP includes parking, unlimited beer sampling, early entry from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM for an extra hour of sampling without the crowds, access to AMALIE Arena’s Lexus Lounge featuring exclusive VIP-only beer and food and other fun perks to be announced.

Andrej Sustr was supposed to be a young hope on the back end for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He wasn’t that, but he wasn’t totally bad. The weird legacy of Sustr with the Lightning as he leaves the only organization he’s ever known. [The Hockey Writers]

With the struggles of his final season, it can be easy to forget just how big of a signing Sustr was for the Lightning back when he joined the team in the spring of 2013. Coming out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, he was a highly sought-after college recruit due to the potential held within his massive six-foot-seven-inch frame. Along with the Lightning, Sustr drew interest from the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

The Prospects

The Adirondack Thunder have ice!

The Syracuse Crunch...aren’t quite there yet.

An Article Inside The Game

The Anaheim Ducks have signed their 25-year-old starting goalie to an eight-year contract with a cap hit of $6.4 million per season starting in 2019-20. John Gibson has had a career plagued by injuries, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best in the world. [Anaheim Calling]

The 25-year-old had a career year for the Ducks last season, posting a .926 SV% (2nd amongst regular starters), and a 2.43 GAA. He finished 2nd in the league amongst regular starters in GSAA (how many more goals he saved compared to a league-average goaltender) with a whopping 32.51.

This season will be the final year of the 3-year, $2.3 million extension he signed in 2016, with the new deal kicking in for the 2019-2020 season, making his deal last until the year 2027.

This contract at this age will be a good measuring stick for players like Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Matt Murray. Both goalies are near the top of the league in quality and in need of contracts at/around that age. Focusing on Vasy for a second, he will be 26-years-old when his next contract kicks in, same as Gibson. Depending what Vasy can do in these next two seasons, the Lightning’s star goaltender could be in for a heck of a contract.

In that 2020 summer, Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, and Anthony Cirelli will all either be on or need a second contract as they come out of their ELCs. Judging by current trends, those contracts won’t be cheap. Cirelli might be able to go on a bridge deal, but Point will definitely want big money. Only the Ryan Callahan contract comes off the books in that summer, so money will definitely be tight.

The salary cap should go up, but that will mean Vasilevskiy’s ask also goes up. With the way the cap is increasing, players are looking at how much of the pie they are getting from teams at the time of their signing when looking at comparables rather than absolute dollars. Gibson is making 8.05% of the $79.5 million ceiling, Braden Holtby made 8.54% back in 2015 when he signed for $6.1 million. If Vasy has number along the lines of those two players (eight-ish percent), he might still be able to hit $7 million or higher.

Further to the point, in 2015, a 26-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky (whom Vasy fought for the Vezina this past season) made $7.425 million (10.17% of the cap at the time). If Vasy continues to put up Bob numbers for the next two seasons, which he can do, he might be able to dwarf $7 million and possibly hit $8.5 million or $9 million.

Hopefully the Bolts make the most of Vasy’s $3.5 million now, because they won’t have that luxury in a few years.

Oh, and one more thing, if anyone has any trepidations about giving Vasy such a large contract, only Tuukka Rask and Gibson signed for the max eight years, and all of the top comparables (Connor Hellebuyck, Holtby, Rask, Semyon Varlamov, Andersen, Bobrovsky) all have been well worth their contracts and more. Frederik Andersen could be making two or three more million than the $5 million he is now after signing just two summers ago.

If anyone has any trepiditions about whether Vasy is good enough to be making serious money, well, just hold tight for our Top 25 Under 25 article on him in the coming days. ;)

The Game

Are the St. Louis Blues a top-5 team in the NHL? St. Louis Game Time examines Joel Edmundson’s claim. [St. Louis Game Time]

Edmundson raises a good point with the familiarity of David Perron - you know what kind of player you’re getting there. Last season with the Vegas Golden Knights may’ve increased the expectations people have for Perron - I would be shocked if he put up those career numbers again. But again, you know what you’re getting.

The Carolina Hurricanes probably lost the Jeff Skinner trade. But those magic beans they got from the Buffalo Sabres might turn into something. [Canes Country]

For starters, the Canes got a prospect - Cliff Pu. The 20-year-old forward was drafted in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Sabres and has since totaled 170 points in 128 OHL regular season games and 24 points in 29 OHL playoff games. Prior to getting drafted, he was pegged by many as a second-round pick, being ranked as high as 34 by ISS Hockey. TSN and McKeen’s Hockey also had him ranked safely in the second round.