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

Aleksander Barkov

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 17: Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center on January17, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

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 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’s deal is heavy on signing bonuses, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. He’ll receive a $1 million base salary for the life of the deal with signing bonuses going from $11 million in the first three years to $10.6 million, $9 million, $7 million, and then $6.2 million in the last two seasons.

The deal also comes with a full no-move clause for the first seven years. In the final year, Barkov must submit a 16-team trade list.

Barkov is in the final year of his current deal that carries a $5.9 million cap hit, per Cap Friendly. He would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. Now the Panthers no longer have to worry about that latter point.

[PHT’s 2021 NHL Free Agent Tracker]

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.