Joined: May 2019
Okay, commenting on this contract we have to keep two things separated.
1) The contract itself: it's a big AAV, but it's for 8 years and will cover Vas from 26 to 34 years of age. Now. He's already a Vezina winner (two times Vezina finalist) and he's still not close to his ceiling. Considering that Goalies take more time developing and hit their prime in the late 20ies, and considering that the average contract AAV has exploded during this offseason, this deal is already a solid deal and will look like an amazing deal a couple years from now.
It's quite like the Kucherov deal. Sign him a season prior to his contract is up in order not to have the contract AAV go up even higher. Lightning definitely betting on Vas to getting even better and personally, having see him play since he was in the KHL, there's no doubt in my mind that he's far from his potential. He's been getting steadily better every season, these are the players that you are comfortable giving long term deals.
2) The Lightning cap situation: Tampa is now definitely in a pickle. But having Vas contract figured out gives the Lightning Front Office a better view for the projections and how to move in order to make it all fit under the cap.
But I sure as hell think that a move is in the making. Before next offseason ends, one of Palat or TyJo will be packing IMO