(Photo credit: NHL.com)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have locked up their elite starting goaltender long-term.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the Bolts on Monday. The contract carries an AAV of $9.5M.

The 25-year-old Russian netminder was set to become an RFA at the end of the 2019-20 season. He is entering the final season of a three-year contract that has an AAV of $3.5M. Vasilevskiy’s contract extension will make him the highest paid player on the Lightning — tied with forward and fellow Russian Nikita Kucherov.

Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy in 2019 after posting a 39-10-4 record with a .925 save percentage and 2.44 GAA. He also had six shutouts.

While Vasilevski had an outstanding regular season, he was unable to carry that phenomenal play into the postseason. The top-seeded Lightning were swept in the first round of the 2019 playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While Vasilevskiy couldn’t carry the Lightning past the Blue Jackets, the team is certainly betting on him carrying them to success in the future. Vasilevskiy is entering the prime of his career on a stacked Tampa Bay team that includes Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Kucherov among others.

The Russian netminder is 124-59-15 with a 2.55 GAA and .919 save percentage in his NHL career, and is the Lightning’s all-time leader in shutouts (18).

With the Lightning getting their starting goalie locked up, the focus will shift to re-signing RFA and breakout forward Brayden Point.