The New Jersey Devils are keeping one of their best young players for the long haul. On Thursday, the Devils signed star forward Jesper Bratt to an eight-year contract worth $63 million.
Bratt, 24, was set to become a restricted free agent this summer, but New Jersey wanted to make sure he would be in red for many years to come. Bratt's AAV comes in at $7.875 million per season, which is now third-highest on the team behind defenseman Dougie Hamilton and center Jack Hughes.
General manager Tom Fitzgerald released a statement saying he expects Bratt to be a key part of the Devils' pursuit of a fourth Stanley Cup.
"It was always a priority to keep Jesper Bratt here long term and both parties are thrilled that a deal was completed," Fitzgerald said. "I value and commend the commitment Jesper made to this organization. We believe that he is a special player and a key member of our core group of talent who will contribute towards the team's long-term success, and organizational goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to New Jersey."
A sixth-round pick by the Devils in the 2016 NHL Draft, Bratt has blossomed into one of the franchise's brightest young stars.
This past season, Bratt scored 32 goals and added 41 assists in 82 games played. Bratt did struggle a bit in the playoffs, with just one goal in 12 games, but his postseason shooting percentage should rise above 4% percent as his career progresses.
With Bratt now under contract for the foreseeable future, the Devils can turn their attention to re-signing winger Timo Meier, who was traded to New Jersey this past spring.