Today, Bill Zito cemented his legendary second offseason as Florida Panthers General Manager with one final move. Zito was able to convince Aleksander Barkov to sign a massive 8-year extension. Barkov’s deal is worth $80 million and is very signing bonus-heavy. Barkov’s salary will pay him a million bucks each year, while making signing bonuses ranging from 6.2 million to 11 million throughout the contract’s duration. The contract will pay Barkov $10 million a year, and is the highest contract ever in Panthers franchise history money wise. AAV wise, Barkov is tied with Sergei Bobrovsky, as each man takes up a cap space of $10 million.
The Barkov extension is an absolutely crucial element to the Florida Panthers taking that next step and cementing their status as Stanley Cup contenders. With Barkov under lock and key, the Panthers have no off the ice distractions in regards to contract situations heading into the regular season.
Aleksander Barkov is the best player in Panthers franchise history indisputably. Barkov’s extension although not cheap, is far less than what he could’ve fetched on the open market. Of course, Florida has tax advantages. Barkov’s contract also provides a full NMC, which means he cannot be traded or taken off the roster without consent for six years. The final two years of the deal see Barkov with a 16-team NTC.
Barkov’s new deal will expire in 2030. Barkov will be 34 years old when his contract expires, and by then if the Panthers intend to make Barkov a Panther-forever, he’ll likely get one last short-term deal, assuming everything goes well.
However, Jonathan Huberdeau is now up next for an extension. Huberdeau’s contract expires at the end of next season, and he will be eligible for an extension next July. The Panthers want to keep Huberdeau and all signs from the Huberdeau camp indicate he wants to stay a Panther (unless the Habs call). Huberdeau’s agent Allan Walsh is among the best in the game and will fight tooth and nail to get every cent his client believes he deserves, and of course Walsh and Huberdeau have every right to do so.
The Huberdeau situation isn’t anything to worry about right now. The Panthers can revisit it after the season. The goal this year is to win the Stanley Cup.