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 consists of signing-bonus money.
It's the largest contract in total dollars ever handed out by the Panthers. His $10 million cap hit 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, $35.4 million contract.
Barkov is headed into his 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 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. The Panthers join the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks as the only teams to have multiple players with a cap hit of $10 million or higher.