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Recent $52 million contract indicates bad news for Boston

AUG 23, 2023   |   BY AUSTIN SABOURIN
As the summer days wind down and most of the league's players and managers enjoy their last moments of relaxation, the Tampa Bay Lightning and forward Brandon Hagel made headlines on Tuesday. Hagel's signature graced an eight-year, $52 million contract extension, slated to come into effect after the 2023-24 season.

With an annual cap hit of $6.5 million, Hagel joins the ranks of the Lightning's top-paid forwards, trailing Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point at $9.5 million each. Among the Bolts, the 24-year-old Hagel claims the sixth spot in salary, following Point, Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy ($9.5 million AAV), Mikhail Sergachev ($8.5 million AAV), and Victor Hedman ($7.875 million AAV).

This lucrative extension arrives on the heels of Hagel's standout 2022-23 season, where he set personal records for goals (30), assists (34), and points (64). Notably, the 6-foot-2 lefty shooter also notched personal bests in hits (68), blocked shots (58), shots (178), and averaged 18 minutes and 39 seconds of ice time per game.

Hagel's contract renewal was a well-deserved outcome, reflecting his remarkable performance.


"Setting the Stage: DeBrusk's Contract in the Spotlight"

In the midst of these contract discussions, the spotlight also falls on the Boston Bruins' winger, Jake DeBrusk. Having secured a two-year, $8 million extension just before the 2022 trade deadline, DeBrusk enters the 2023-24 season following an impressive year, matching his career-high 27 goals and reaching a new personal best of 50 points.

Much like Hagel, the 26-year-old DeBrusk achieved notable accomplishments in various categories. He marked career highs in plus-minus (plus-26), hits (85), power-play points (14), shots (191), and time on ice (16 minutes and 47 seconds).

Looking back on the past, including DeBrusk's trade request, the evolution is striking. "Reflecting on a Turn of Events," DeBrusk shared, "Looking back, it's been a wild journey. I appreciate every moment here in Boston, especially the camaraderie with my teammates. It's a special feeling, and I've cherished every day."

A change in deployment on Boston's top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand proved transformative for DeBrusk. This strategic shift, enacted by Bruce Cassidy and Jim Montgomery, saw DeBrusk playing on the right side beginning in February 2022.

Throughout this period, DeBrusk contributed significantly, tallying 43 goals and 75 points in 96 games. His 43 goals ranked second on the Bruins (trailing David Pastrnak with 74 goals) and 43rd across the entire NHL. Impressively, 36 of those goals came from even-strength play, positioning DeBrusk as the league's 22nd-highest even-strength goal scorer.

Taking into account the setbacks of injuries that sidelined DeBrusk for over a month last year, his goal-scoring prowess shines even brighter.

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