The Florida Panthers have stepped up in a major way to keep their top star player. iOn Friday, the Panthers signed Aleksander Barkov to an 8-year, $80M extension. The majority of the deal (over $70 million) comes in the form of signing bonuses.
Barkov has 108 goals and 294 points over the last four seasons, all with the Panthers. He’s played in 277 games and trails only Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby for centers over that time period. He truly is the Panthers’ star player and while this contract puts him in some elite territory for salaries, he’s earned it. The responses from most insiders are that this is a fair deal.
He is a dominant offensive player who might also be one of the most underrated attackers in the game. He plays with speed, manages the puck as well as any player in the NHL and he’s tough to play against. He’s a favorite among the advanced analytics community as well, even if his WAR numbers drag his overall numbers down just a touch.
There was some talk this past year about Barkov sending off vibes he was willing to explore his options. The key was the team needed to show they were willing to contend and put the pieces around him. At the time he said, “I obviously want to stay here, I want to win here.” He reiterated, “My biggest goal is to win here.”
This deal certainly proves they’re willing to spend to keep their best piece on the roster.
Barkov Will Play All of His Best Years in Florida
Barkov is entering the final season of a six-year extension he signed in 2015-16. This new deal won’t kick in until the start of next season. Ultimately, the Panthers have him under team control for nine more seasons and to the age of 35. It will be the final massive deal of his NHL career.
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