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Point expected to sign with Lightning before training camp, GM says

Restricted free agent forward had NHL career-high 92 points last season

by Corey Long / Correspondent

Brayden Point is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning before training camp, general manager Julien BriseBois said Monday of the restricted free agent forward.

"I don't have a precise timeline," BriseBois said. "I feel very optimistic, but I don't have any new information with regards to the Brayden Point contract."

BriseBois said Point, who set NHL career highs with 41 goals, 51 assists and 92 points last season, and similar players with his status as a Group 2 restricted free agent without arbitration rights tend to be the last contracts done in the offseason. 

"It's not because we are not working on them, not because we're not trying to get a deal done," BriseBois said. "They're just a little more complicated to get done, and the deadline to get something done is essentially the start of training camp. Whereas there are other players that have different free agent statuses earlier in the summer."

The 23-year-old could sign a short-term bridge contract similar to the ones that forward Nikita Kucherov and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy each received after his entry-level contract expired. In each case, a long-term contract extension followed. Kucherov signed an eight-year, $76 million extension on July 10, 2018, and Vasilevskiy agreed to the same terms for his extension Monday. 

BriseBois wouldn't dismiss that as a possibility but did not want to elaborate.

"Again, I don't want to get too much into details of the Brayden Point contract," BriseBois said. "But what I will say is there are all of these players that signed shorter deals coming out of their entry-level contracts who all ended up signing long-term deals and were able to stick with our organization, whether it's Tyler Johnson or Ondrej Palat or Alex Killorn

"It's worked out for all of them and it's worked out for the organization. We've been able to keep a lot of great players in their prime."

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