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Thoughts on Andrei Vasilevskiy's monster extension with the Lightning?

July 31, 2019, 10:54 AM ET [25 Comments]
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Todd Cordell

I really like Andrei Vasilevskiy. I think he is one of the better goaltenders in the league and will be for years to come. I also think he is getting too much money, especially considering he's signing his extension as a restricted free agent.

From 2016-19, 45 goaltenders logged at least 3,500 minutes at 5v5. Vasilevskiy ranks 7th among them in save percentage – a little behind established stars Pekka Rinne, Sergei Bobrovsky, and John Gibson, and top class backups who developed into starters such as Antti Raanta and Philipp Grubauer.

The biggest sticking point, to me, is John Gibson. He's clearly an elite goaltender and only recently signed an extension.

Why is Vasilevskiy getting $3.1 million more on an annual basis, and $45 million more in signing bonuses, than Gibson when the latter has posted a better 5v5 save percentage, total save percentage, high-danger save percentage, and stopped more goals above average while playing behind a lesser defensive team? Even if we go by cap hit percentage and Gibson signed a new deal now, he'd only be pulling in $6.9 million per.

I am not a fan of spending that much on goaltending, particularly when there are elite comparables are making significantly less. I just don't get $9.5 million for a guy who has averaged 56 games per year over the last three years. That'd be $169K per game. Nikita Kucherov, is getting ~$121K per game (based on his three-year average of 78) and I think most would agree he's the more valuable player.

As good as Vasilevskiy is, I don't like this contract.

James Tanner

I really like the contract for Vasilevskiy. He is something like 5th in career save percentage, and based on the start of his career, he's on track to be a hall of famer like Carey Price and Robert Luongo. If he's at that level, then he's worth every penny. If you knew what a goalie would do in any given season, he would be by far the highest paid player on your roster because no one else has even close to the same impact. But goalies are unpredictable. Even Vasilevskiy is no sure thing, but if you're not going to pay him, who would you pay? What I mean is, that in a cap league, teams who take risks that pay off will always have an advantage, and if you're not going to bet Vasilevksiy, who are you going to bet on?

The Lightning are placing a bet that Vasilevskiy will be an all-time great, and if they're right they basically just bought themselves a decade of contender status. This is a very good contract.

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