Few expected the Tampa Bay Lightning to crack in the playoffs the way they did but little of that was the fault of Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Russian goalie won his first Vezina Trophy this year and led the league again in wins. Yes, wins and goals-against average categories have been overrated but his consistency is not.
Vasilevskiy played just 53 games for the Lightning after starting 65 the season before. While his playoff numbers were not good, his body of work the past 2+ seasons was enough to warrant a huge extension.
Now, the bigger question arises. What does the newly signed goaltender do now after signing an eight-year extension at an AAV of $9.5 million?
What Andrei Vasilevskiy means to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Honestly, most nights Tampa Bay can score 4+ goals and win but Vasilevskiy was more than highlight-reel saves. He made a lot of the routine ones along with the difficult shots look easy. His workload was above average as he faced just over 32 shots per 60.
Andrei Vasilevskiy brought stability and ability to bounce back that few goaltenders can muster. His ability to stop shots and secondary opportunities were vital to Tampa Bay’s success. Unfortunately, Tampa was a team that was guilty of yielding numerous second chances.
Vasilevskiy gives Tampa Bay the luxury of signing a backup goalie like Curtis McElhinney for example. Barring injury, the starting goalie can easily play close to 60 games in 2019-20 and for several years beyond.
Furthermore, the goaltender’s extension ends at age 34 — before the 35+ cutoff. It truly is a deal that helps both sides. Tampa Bay gets stability and so does Vasilevskiy. Also, the best part is Vasilevskiy gets paid just $3.5 million this year still. This allows Julian Brisebois to afford Brayden Point.
Okay, it is time to look at the Andrei Vasilevskiy cap breakdown.
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s salary cap breakdown
As the latest comes in from PuckPedia, here is a little more on Vasilevskiy’s new contract.
The #TBLightning re-signed 25 y/o Andrei Vasilevskiy to an 8 year contract extension $9.5M cap hit deal
Rep’d by Daniel Milsteinhttps://t.co/uvusjCjkjP
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 29, 2019
At first glance, this looks like a signing bonus laden deal. According to CapFriendly, $44.5 of the $76 million is paid out this way. $25 million of that bonus comes in the first three years of the extension.
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s contract also includes a NMC in years 2-5 and a modified NTC (10 team trade list) in that last 3 years of his new contract. https://t.co/6fZkPlhXXC
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 29, 2019
A little Andrei Vasilevskiy numerology
Thanks to Corsica Stats, we get a better idea of what level Vasilevskiy has performed. While his 2018-19 numbers started incredibly well, it was his overall numbers that caught our eye.
Vasilevskiy enjoyed a penalty-kill save percentage of .910 in his 53 regular-season games. The Tampa Bay goaltender won 39 games in that span. Also, he was right around his expected save percentage of nearly .930.
Also, the netminder had a goals-saved above average of 26.4 with a goalie point share of 12.4. He posted six shutouts which were about the same rate as 2017-18.
When a goalie has a penalty-kill save percentage in the above .900, that is quite a feat. Andrei Vasilevskiy has never posted an even-strength save percentage below .920 (always in .920 to .930 range). Again, it is that consistency which helps along with the career .885 penalty-kill save percentage.
Now, this deal takes the goaltender through his prime years right to age 34. The next player to be locked up will be Brayden Point. That will keep Tampa Bay’s core in place through at least 2023-24.
Expectations for Vasilevskiy will rise even more as this window has been extended. Will the numbers be there? That is the $76 million question.
A few final words on Andrei Vasilevskiy
The talent around the Tampa Bay goaltending is undisputed. Only the playoffs remain somewhat of a question mark. Can the Lightning get past their unexpected elimination? The next few seasons will not be dull in Tampa Bay.