New $52 million contract points to unfavorable developments for Boston

Published August 23, 2023 at 12:49

Wrapping up the lazy days of summer while athletes and coaches around the league savor their final moments of leisure, the recent news from Tampa Bay caught the spotlight. Brandon Hagel, the forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning, inked his name on an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million, which is set to kick in after the 2023-24 season.

This lucrative deal carries an annual cap hit of $6.5 million, propelling Hagel into the echelon of the highest-paid forwards on the Lightning roster. He finds himself trailing Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, both earning $9.5 million each. Within the Lightning lineup, Hagel, a 24-year-old talent, takes the sixth spot in terms of salary. His ranking follows after Point, Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9.5 million AAV), Mikhail Sergachev ($8.5 million AAV), and Victor Hedman ($7.875 million AAV).

This remarkable contract extension follows Hagel's standout performance in the 2022-23 season, where he reached personal milestones, including 30 goals, 34 assists, and 64 points. Beyond his offensive achievements, Hagel, a left-handed shooter standing at 6 feet 2 inches, set personal records for hits (68), blocked shots (58), and shots on goal (178). He averaged an impressive 18 minutes and 39 seconds of ice time per game.

Hagel's contract renewal undoubtedly stands as a testament to his exceptional contributions on the ice.

"Shining a Light: DeBrusk's Contract Takes Center Stage"

Amidst these contract developments, the focus shifts to another talented winger, Jake DeBrusk of the Boston Bruins. Having secured a two-year extension worth $8 million just before the 2022 trade deadline, DeBrusk is poised to enter the 2023-24 season following a remarkable year. He achieved a career-high 27 goals and achieved a personal best of 50 points.

Similar to Hagel, DeBrusk, now 26 years old, marked significant accomplishments across multiple categories. He reached career highs in plus-minus (+26), hits (85), power-play points (14), shots on goal (191), and average time on ice (16 minutes and 47 seconds).

Looking back at the journey, which included DeBrusk's trade request, the transformation is undeniable. "Reflecting on a Turning Point," DeBrusk shared, "When I look back, it's been quite a ride. I value every moment here in Boston, especially the camaraderie with my teammates. It's a unique sensation, and I've cherished every single day."

A shift in position, placing DeBrusk on Boston's top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, proved to be a game-changer. This strategic adjustment, orchestrated by Bruce Cassidy and Jim Montgomery, had DeBrusk switch to the right side starting in February 2022.

Throughout this period, DeBrusk made a significant impact, tallying 43 goals and 75 points across 96 games. His 43 goals ranked him second on the Bruins' roster (behind David Pastrnak's 74 goals) and 43rd in the entire NHL. Impressively, 36 of these goals were scored at even strength, positioning DeBrusk as the league's 22nd-highest goal scorer in this category.

Considering the hurdles of injuries that kept DeBrusk off the ice for over a month last year, his prowess in scoring goals shines even brighter.

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August 23   |   168 answers
New $52 million contract points to unfavorable developments for Boston

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