Breaking: Lightning Closing In On Agreement To Sign Former All-Star Defenseman

Breaking: Lightning Closing In On Agreement To Sign Former All-Star Defenseman

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in talks with all-star defenseman Victor Hedman to extend his contract. The announcement follows a report that Jake Guentzel will sign with the club after the team traded for his rights earlier this afternoon. Because he is already under contract in Tampa Bay, Hedman will have to wait until tomorrow to sign a new deal.

Hedman’s current eight-year, $63 million agreement expires after the 2024-25 NHL season, and he would have become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career at the age of 34. With an average annual value of $7.875 million since the start of the 2017-18 NHL season, one might argue that Hedman has been playing on a bargain contract for quite some time.

Over the course of his current contract, Hedman has appeared in 503 regular season games for the Lightning, scoring 91 goals and 427 points. The Lightning have made the playoffs in every year of the contract, and Hedman has contributed 17 goals and 80 points over those seven years. Hedman has also received one Norris Trophy, one Conn Smythe Trophy, and two Stanley Cup rings in hardware.

After the departure of defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on the second day of the 2024 NHL Draft, the previous second-overall pick is expected to continue playing a significant role on the ice. Hedman appeared to manage the burden well with Sergachev out for much of the regular season last year, but it will be fascinating to see if he can maintain that grit throughout the course of the anticipated deal.

The full terms of the deal will likely break tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how long the Lightning go on a Hedman extension. The team was recently willing to give a similarly-aged Steven Stamkos an eight-year agreement to keep the AAV down towards a team-friendly level.

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