Jesp some #NEWS to drop: We have signed Jesper Bratt to a one-year deal worth $5.45 million, avoiding arbitration. He is an RFA at the end of 2022-23.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) August 3, 2022
Jesper Bratt Remains With The Devils For Now
Entering the off-season, the Devils made it a priority to get Jesper Bratt signed. General manager Tom Fitzgerald saw Bratt as a core piece of this franchise’s future. However, just like last time, this was not an easy process. Though they did not sign him long-term, the Devils keep Bratt as part of the future for now.
Bratt, who was a pending restricted free agent, was coming off a two-year bridge deal that carried an AAV of $2.75 million. Now, Bratt gets a significant pay raise to continue to produce as he did during the 2021-22 season.
The two parties were headed to salary arbitration on Wednesday, August 3rd. Bratt’s party was looking for $6.5 million for one season. While the Devils wanted a one-year deal worth $4.15 million. They ultimately met in the middle at $5.45 million for one year.
During this past season, Bratt set career highs in points (73), goals (26), and assists (47). Bratt led the team in points playing 76 games this regular season. For the most part of his career, the highest points total Bratt had in a season was 35 in his rookie year of 2017-18. Prior to his breakout season, which saw consistency finally creep into his game, Bratt averaged around 30 points. Granted, Bratt would have broken his career-high in points these past two seasons. But both were shortened seasons due to COVID. However, this year, Bratt played with more consistency.
“I do think I took a step this year, and I think I started it a little bit last year, taking a new step and really showing off the skill and the player that I know that I could be,” Bratt said during his year-end availability. “And I think it started out good this year, and this was probably my first year in my career when I really took my game to the next level and started being the player that I know that I can be.”
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What’s Next For the Devils and Bratt
With Bratt’s new deal out of the way, the Devils hope Bratt can take his game to even new heights. Instead of holding out like last time, he can focus on his play on the ice. Any player can perform in a contract year. New Jersey hopes he can consistently produce at a 70-point pace and even higher. Bratt was one of four 20-goal scorers on the team as the team finds progress through pain.
However, the Devils want him to produce again before signing him to a long-term extension. This is a similar approach Tampa Bay took with their big stars. Now, Bratt is getting paid like one of the top players on the team and has to produce or else he might not get the money he expects the next time around.
If he can produce and the team settles on a long-term solution, he can continue to grow his game and hopefully be a reason why the Devils lift the Stanley Cup once again.
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