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Panthers sign Forsling to 8-year extension, Gadjovich to a 2-year extension

Gustav Forsling

Jan 19, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (42) looks on after scoring against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Navarro/Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Gustav Forsling came to the Florida Panthers four years ago simply looking for a chance.

He earned a whole lot more.

Forsling — the NHL’s leader in plus-minus this season by a wide margin — and the Panthers have agreed to an eight-year extension, the team announced. He was slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, with this season the last he had on a three-year, $8 million deal.

“It sends a message that guys want to play here,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said.

Instead, he’s now locked in as part of the core going forward along with the likes of Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk. A person with knowledge of the agreement said Forsling will receive a deal with an annual value of $5.75 million — so $46 million in total.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the financial portion was not announced.

The Panthers also signed forward Jonah Gadjovich to a two-year deal, Zito said.

Forsling spent his first three NHL seasons in Chicago, then got traded to Carolina in 2019. He never made it onto the ice with the Hurricanes, who waived him in January 2021.

The Panthers claimed him a day later. The rest has just fallen into place. He has missed one game since the start of last season — and it was for the birth of his son in January. He has nine goals and 22 assists this season.

Forsling’s plus-minus this season is plus-43, 10 better than anyone else in the league. Since the start of the 2021-22 season, he’s plus-103, second-best in the NHL. He’s become a major part of a team that has the best record in the league this season and is in line for a second Presidents’ Trophy in the last three years.

And now he’s essentially set for life.