Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov signs maximum-term extension

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Panthers star Aleksander Barkov has been rewarded with a huge new contract. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Panthers star Aleksander Barkov has been rewarded with a huge new contract. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers have re-signed their franchise cornerstone.

Aleksander Barkov, fresh off a Selke Trophy win, has signed an eight-year, $80-million contract to remain in Sunrise long-term. Doing the quick math, it works out to $10 million on an average annual basis, which will vault him into the top 10 earners among forwards, at least provisionally.

The contract will kick in next season, as Barkov plays out the final campaign of a six-year contract that pays $5.9 million per.

Barkov is a consistent point producer in Florida, delivering well better than a point per game on average across the last four seasons. But what separates the Panthers' top centre from other elite pivots is his reliable two-way game.

His latest season was his most dominant from an analytical perspective, as the Panthers earned about a 60 percent share of goals, scoring chances, shots and attempts with Barkov and the No. 1 forward unit on the ice. This is a player that consistently dominates against high-end competition.

A former No. 2 overall selection, Barkov is already eight seasons into his career but only just turned 26. There's reason to be confident that he will be productive through the life of the contract, which takes him through his age-34 season. 

He will soon become the franchise record-holder for goals and will establish many high-water marks with the organization at the end of 18 seasons, but some benchmarks will depend on teammate Jonathan Huberdeau's future with the organization. Huberdeau is entering his 10th season, each with the Panthers, and will become the all-time leaders in games played this season to pair with marks on assists and points. Huberdeau has two more seasons at $5.9 million before negotiating one more big-money extension, though it's unlikely that he will be able to hit the same sort of home run.

Expectations are sky-high for the Panthers this season and with Barkov returning next season and beyond, there is one less thing for the organization to worry about.

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