The Tampa Bay Lightning signed winger Brandon Hagel to an eight-year extension carrying an average annual value of $6.5 million, the team announced Tuesday.
Hagel is in the final year of a contract paying him $1.5 million annually. He was set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
“I think this is home,” Hagel said, per NHL.com’s Chris Krenn. “I’ve felt comfortable. I love the guys here. I love the core that they have for the next however many years. I want to jump on that core, and I want to win a lot, and I think this is the place to do it. And living in Tampa, you can’t complain.”
Hagel, who turns 25 on Sunday, is coming off a career year in which he set personal bests in goals (30), assists (34), games played (81), and average time on ice (18:39).
He’s posted strong underlying numbers offensively and on special teams over his three-year career.
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Hagel in the sixth round in 2016, but they failed to sign him. Hagel was invited to Montreal Canadiens training camp in 2018 but eventually signed with the Blackhawks instead.
“Five years ago, I was playing my 20-year-old year in junior without a contract and not sure if I’ll ever get one to the NHL,” Hagel said. “Five years later, I’m signing a deal that’s going to change my life, and I get to call a place home. It feels nice. It feels like I got to a point where I proved a lot of people wrong, people that didn’t believe in me. Now I’ve got this, and I’m happy.”
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native won gold with Canada at the 2021 World Championship.
With the salary cap projected to rise to $87.5 million for 2024-25, the Lightning are set to have $12.6 million in cap space next offseason, with captain Steven Stamkos as the only notable unrestricted free agent.
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