The Tampa Bay Lightning announced this afternoon that they have signed Mikhail Sergachev to a three-year contract, carrying an average annual value of $4.8-million.
From the Lightning's perspective, it would be difficult to understate the importance of this deal to the franchise. Sergachev delivers high-quality, top-four minutes for Jon Cooper's squad, and is still shining with significant potential. While it's true that he almost certainly benefits from playing on a championship roster, Sergachev isn't someone who is being carried along for the ride. He is increasingly viewed as one of the game's top young "next generation" defenders, with most agreeing that the Montreal Canadiens never should have let him go.
Beyond the fact that keeping Sergachev around is obviously great news, Julien BriseBois should be commended for getting this done in a very team-friendly way. The Lightning's cap crunch is well-documented, which left the General Manager will little room to maneuver. With rumors of offer sheets floating around, BriseBois inking Sergachev to a sub-$5M deal is a massive win for the Lightning. The team finds itself is a great spot where it's likely to get more value out of the player than the dollar value would suggest:
Of course, signing Sergachev doesn't exactly solve the aforementioned cap issues that have been plaguing the team since it captured the Stanley Cup. The Bolts now find themselves approximately $2M north of the salary cap, with Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak left to sign. It reasons to suggest that the General Manager isn't done yet.
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