It's been a good offseason to be a Florida Panther.
The Panthers locked up yet another key forward on Friday morning, with the team agreeing to terms with their captain, Aleksander Barkov on an eight-year extension worth an average annual value of $10 million. An official announcement is expected for later on Friday.
The details of the deal, such as its salary structure or trade protection, have yet to be determined. Barkov has one year remaining on his current deal at $5.9 million, with his new deal kicking in at the start of the 2022-23 season.
Drafted second overall by Florida in 2013, Barkov has blossomed into a member of the NHL's elite class thus far, impressively capturing the Selke Trophy last season as the league's top defensive forward while simultaneously racking up 58 points in 50 games.
Someone with Barkov's innate shutdown ability should not be capable of keeping pace alongside the game's top scorers. And yet, that's exactly what the 26-year-old does each and every year, maintaining a roughly point-per-game scoring pace throughout his time as a big leaguer to this point which included a career-best 35-goal, 96-point campaign in 2018-19, in the process.
Essentially, Barkov does a little bit of everything for the Panthers. He logs over 20 minutes of ice time per game against top opposing competition, plays a role on both the power play and penalty kill, and manages to produce some gaudy numbers at even-strength.
If you're looking for a player to build a long-term winner around, frankly, Barkov's name should be near the top of your list. And that's exactly what the Panthers seem to be doing, with the front office having made efforts to surround their franchise face this offseason with capable supporting pieces in preparation for their move back into the 82-game slugfest that is the Atlantic Division.
With Barkov on their side for nearly the next decade, the Panthers appear ready to challenge for the division crown for the foreseeable future.
Let the games begin.