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  • Tiffany Rigby

Florida Panthers gives super star a huge deal before the NHL season starts

The Florida Panthers and team captain Aleksander Barkov reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension Friday ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season.

The majority of the contract consists of bonus signing money. It's the largest contract in total dollars ever handed out by the Florida Panthers. Barkov's $10 million cap hit would be tied for the 10th highest in the league this season. He was previously signed to a six year, $35.4 million contract.

The Panthers star center would've become an unrestricted free agent following the 2021-22 season. Barkov will make $7.75 million this season in the final year of the previous 2016 deal he signed. Barkov is headed into his ninth NHL season with the panthers.

He has 465 points in 529 games. And is 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 2018-19. The contract gives the Panthers two players who make at least $10 million against the NHL salary cap, along with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year, $70-million free-agent contract in 2019.

His breakout season came in 2015-16, when he scored 59 points in 66 games, and he ranks 16th among all NHL players with 405 points across 404 appearances over the past six years, per StatMuse. The 26-year-old Finland native tallied 26 goals and 32 assists in 50 contests for Florida last season.

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