If you see Lightning fans gathering near Amalie Arena and throwing bagels in the air in celebration, there is a reason! Bradon Hagel (affectionately known by various bagel-related nicknames in some circles) has cemented his future with the team. The Lightning organization announced today that Hagel had signed an eight-year deal worth 52 million dollars. The average annual value comes out to 6.5 million a year beginning in the 2024-2025 season.
When the Lightning made a blockbuster deal for Brandon Hagel at the trade deadline in 2022, reviews were mixed. Hagel had put up good numbers for the Chicago Blackhawks that year. Through 55 games, he had tallied 21 goals and 15 assists. But he struggled to find the back of the net when he joined the Bolts. Many Lightning fans criticized the trade. They felt the team had given up far too much for an unproven talent.
Brandon Hagel silenced the critics in the 2022-2023 season. He spent much of the season on the top line. Because of his speed and versatility, he logged big minutes. A relentless forechecker, he was on the ice killing penalties and also on the power play. He scored one short-handed goal and seven power play goals. In the end, he finished the regular season with 30 goals and 34 assists. His 64 points tied him for 4th best on the team. In the category of plus/minus- calculated by adding up all the times the player was on the ice for a (non power play) goal for and subtracting the times he was on for a goal against (not including penalty killing), Hagel led the team, finishing at a sparkling plus 23. He was also second overall in the league in takeaways (deliberate actions taken by a defensive player to regain possession of the puck for their team) with 92.
Hagel Makes Tampa Home
Hagel became a fan favorite this year. The Tampa Bay community loved him and he seemed to love the team and the community in return. With this deal, it is clear that Hagel has made Tampa his home. There are some rumblings that 6.5 million is too much to pay after just one season. But the Lightning made a strong statement today that Brandon Hagel is an integral part of their future plans.
Hagel turns 25 next week. Happy Birthday, “Bagel”. We’re so glad you’re here!
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