The Florida Panthers are a good, young team. They're in the playoff hunt -- just one point outside of the Wild Card. And on Tuesday they did what most young teams do when their core starts to mature. They supposedly locked up one of these integral parts of their success.
According to a report in The Miami Herald, the Panthers are about to ink forward Nick Bjugstad to a six-year deal worth $4.1 million per-year. That would equal $24.6 million if our math is correct.
Tuesday was one heck of a night for Nick Bjugstad.
Not long after scoring the game-tying goal in an eventual 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal, the Panthers' center was signing a six-year deal with the team sources told The Miami Herald.
Bjugstad, a restricted free agent following this season, will get $4.1 million annually.
"He's a cornerstone piece to the franchise,'' the source said.
That's a lot of years for a 22-year-old player who has never scored more than 38 points in a season. But if he turns into the big, strong forward the Panthers envision, the contract will turn into a steal.
Now Florida probably needs to turn its attention to Jonathan Huburdeau, who is in line to be an RFA this offseason -- like Bjugstad before this contract (if it indeed gets signed).
But between those two, stud rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad and slumping but talented Aleksander Barkov, Florida has a nice group of youngsters.
Now about that pesky attendance issue...
But if the Panthers continue to win, this will likely take care of itself. Potentially signing Bjugstad was a good step in that direction.
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