The Tampa Bay Lightning agreed to an eight-year contract extension for center Anthony Cirelli with a $6.25 million AAV. Defenseman Erik Cernak also signed an eight-year extension with a $5.2 AAV.
We've signed Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli, and Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension.https://t.co/xruDCctKWL— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 13, 2022
Cirelli, 24, has spent his entire pro career with the Lightnning. He had 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in the 2021-2022 and added eight points (three goals, five assists) in 23 playoff games. He is arguably the Lightning’s best two-way forward and one of their top options on face-off draws.
Despite Cirelli’s established role as the Lightning’s top penalty killer and on the second power play, he will be expected to take a jump in offensive production to justify the new contract. His career high in goals (19) and points (44) came earlier in career.
Cernak, 25, came to the Lightning in 2017 from the Los Angeles Kings as part of a package for goalie Ben Bishop. He established himself as a top four defenseman on the team immediately, often paired with the recently-traded Ryan McDonagh, Cernak has 16 goals and 43 assists in 226 NHL games. He has two goals and 17 assists in 73 playoff games.
With McDonagh gone, the Lightning are investing in Cernak and Mikhail Sergachev (8 years, $8.5 AAV) as the future of their blue line.