Panthers sign Aleksander Barkov to 8-year, $80 million extension

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It is a pretty great day to be a hockey fan in South Florida.

The Florida Panthers took care of a major contract situation on Friday by signing team captain Aleksander Barkov to a massive eight-year, $80 million contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2029-30 season. Barkov is in the final year of his current deal that pays him $5.9 million and he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. Now the Panthers no longer have to worry about that latter point.

Barkov, 26, has become one of the NHL’s elite all-around players, blending top-tier offense with shutdown defense.

He is one of the top offensive forwards in the league, and is also the reigning Selke Trophy winner as the league’s best defensive forward.

For years the Panthers had him signed to a bargain, team-friendly contract against the salary cap. After wildly outperforming that deal the team has signed him to the largest contract in team history.

The Panthers are coming off a 2020-21 season that was the best regular season performance in franchise history. That performance, as well as the offseason additions of Sam Reinhart and Joe Thornton, and the emergence of top prospect Spencer Knight in goal, has raised expectations to previously unknown heights in Florida.

Barkov is a major factor in that progress.

Now that his contract is taken care of the next core player that is due for a new deal will be Jonathan Huberdeau, whose current contract expires at the end of next season. He is still signed for a team-friendly rate of $5.9 million against the cap.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Panthers sign Aleksander Barkov to 8-year, $80 million extension originally appeared on NBCSports.com