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Point, Lightning have been in contact about new contract

Forward had NHL career-high 92 points this season, can become restricted free agent July 1

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Brayden Point and the Tampa Bay Lightning have been in contact regarding a new contract, and general manager Julien BriseBois is confident that it will get done sometime this offseason.

The 23-year-old forward can become a restricted free agent July 1.

"I met with Brayden Point's agent in Vancouver," BriseBois said. "As much as I'd like to get this done soon, and I'm sure they'd like to get this done soon, there's a process to these things and there's kind of a rhythm to the offseason. Teams eventually get eliminated, they do their postmortem, they do their amateur meetings, their pro meetings, combine, draft, now it's the window for free agents."

 

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Point had NHL career highs in goals (41), assists (51) and points (92) in 79 games this season for Tampa Bay, and has increased his total in each category in each of his first three NHL seasons.

But before the Lightning get a contract done with Point, they will look to address their restricted free agents who are eligible for salary arbitration, according to BriseBois.

"The players that are restricted free agents and don't have arbitration rights, like Brayden Point, they're usually the last ones to get done," BriseBois said. "If you look around the League, none of these guys have signed yet. History tells us they are the last ones to sign over the course of the summer."

Video: TBL@PIT: Point nets natural hat trick in 91 seconds

BriseBois acknowledged the possibility of Point receiving an offer sheet from another team.

"You never know," BriseBois said. "I think I'll be surprised if there's one in the League, but I know it's a possibility. I can't neglect the possibility or the risk of there being one. There's a reason there haven't been many, because most of the time it doesn't work to make an offer sheet."

Earlier this week, BriseBois and coach Jon Cooper reportedly met with San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Pavelski, who led the Sharks with 38 goals and had 64 points this season, is not expected to re-sign with the San Jose, where he played his first 13 NHL seasons, including the past four as captain. 

As a result, he could land in Tampa Bay, which has a couple of forward spots open after Ryan Callahan was placed on long-term injured reserve June 20 and J.T. Miller was traded to the Vancouver Canucks two days later.

"For the last few years, we weren't really a player in terms of trying to attract big free agents," BriseBois said. "We kind of had our team. We didn't necessarily see players out there that we thought were the right fit. Whether it was contract terms, age, what we already had on the team.

"This summer is a little different. We're looking at different things. We're trying to find ways to improve our team because we think there are opportunities to make that happen. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won't, but we're investigating every opportunity to improve the team."

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