Source — Florida Panthers lock up franchise center Aleksander Barkov with 8-year, $80 million deal

The Florida Panthers have secured their franchise center with a blockbuster contract.

Aleksander Barkov has agreed to an eight-year, $80 million contract with the Panthers, a source told ESPN on Friday. The majority of the contract contains signing bonus money.

It’s the largest contract in total dollars ever handed out by the Panthers. His $10 million cap would be tied for the 10th highest in the league this season.

The 26-year-old from Finland was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He was previously signed to a six-year contract worth $35.4 million, with a $5.9 million average annual salary.

Barkov is headed into this ninth NHL season. He has 465 points in 529 games. Considered one of the NHL’s top two-way centers, Barkov won the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward last season. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player in the 2018-19 season.

The contract gives the Panthers two players who make at least $10 million against the NHL salary cap, the other being goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year, $70-million free-agent contract in 2019. The Panthers join the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks as the only teams to have multiple players with a $10 million or higher cap hit.

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