Not only that, but $19M isn't an amount to turn your nose up. If he gets seriously injured or otherwise unable to perform in two years, he'll be glad he signed this contract instead of holding out for $6-8M.
Think about it... Let's say the alternative was playing under the RFA amount for two years and then signing a big contract:
2015-2016 $3,000,000 Two-year contract at lower rate to get to UFA.
2016-2017 $3,000,000 Two-year contract at lower rate to get to UFA.
2017-2018 $7,750,000 (big contract, presuming #'s keep rising and his performance increases) UFA
2018-2019 $7,750,000 UFA
So that's a total of 4-years, $21,500,000. Even if he signed a two-year, $6M contract - giving him the quickest out to UFA status - he's risking about $12M (difference between what he'd have at the end of the 16-17 season and what he's going to have now at the end of the 18-19 season) on the chance that he doesn't have a career-ending injury or otherwise harm his chances at a big contract.
So, yes, he maximizes his salary ceiling by signing a two-year deal, but he also maximizes his salary floor by signing a four-year deal. Risk/Reward.
I'm more excited about what he's doing at the other end of the ice than the those two goals, quite honestly. While it's nice to see him getting the puck in the net, the 1st goal was embarrassing defense (four-on-three and they let their mark into the slot without any pressure) and the second was a complete fluke. Good for him in getting the puck on net, but the goalie stops that 99/100 times.
Anyone that watched the game has to be impressed with his active stick work at the other end though. He's really got a knack for being a safe defender and doing the little things right.
This is exactly what I meant when I said earlier in the thread that I have no doubts he can be in the top 80-percentile for a bit, but what does the grind of a 60+ game season do to him at the end, particularly during grueling NHL rough games on back-to-back nights? I think he regresses to a point that he becomes a liability without a season or two in GR to build up the endurance and understanding of balance on the ice. You can go 110% for a five-game stretch in the playoffs, but what happens when you've gotta string more than a few games together? He had back-to-back games Sunday and Monday, then two full days off, Thursday and Friday in GR, Saturday off, and then last night. Five games in seven days is a lot. What's his energy level going to be over these final two games of the series? I think he'll be fine, but what happens in December when he's 30 games in against the fastest, strongest, and biggest hockey players in the world, and then he's gotta go three games in five days against the Blackhawks, Canadiens, and Penguins?
I like what I'm seeing from him, but I think at least one full year in GR is the proper way to go.
I think the change in sheer number of games, not only as a whole, but within a stretch of 4-5 days is the biggest challenge. I would not be surprised to see him in GR for at least the next 13 months - if, for nothing more, to allow him the chance to build his endurance. Not just skating, but in the weight room, in practice, and the physicality of the game. That's gotta take some getting used to before someone is ready.
Do I think he could come up and be in the 80th percentile for three or four games? Absolutely. Do I think he'd regress to the 20th percentile after 60 games? Absolutely.
I think you leave him in GR just so he can get a feel for how to battle with a balance. You can't go 150% all the time every time.