Aleksander Barkov agrees to 6-year deal with Panthers
20-year-old's contract reportedly worth $35.4 million US
Rising young forward Aleksander Barkov and the Florida Panthers have agreed to a six-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.
Financial terms weren't released, but the deal is reportedly worth $35.4 million US. It prevents Barkov from reaching restricted free agency at the end of this season, his third in the NHL after being drafted No. 2 overall by Florida in 2013.
"I feel safe," said the 20-year-old, Finnish-born Barkov. "But I'm not going to stop working."
After tallying 24 and 36 points in his first two campaigns, Barkov has 12 goals and 18 assists in 38 games this season, helping propel surprising Florida to the top of the Atlantic Division with the help of linemate Jaromir Jagr.
During the Panthers' franchise-record 12-game winning streak, Barkov led the team with 14 points, including six goals.
"Sasha is not only a great player, he's one of the best players in the league in all three zones of the ice," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "Most importantly about Sasha is his character and his passion and his dedication. That made the decision easy to us."
Florida is trying to make the playoffs for just the second time in 15 seasons, and will head into the All-Star break this week atop the Atlantic.
"I like to be here," Barkov said. "I like to come here every morning to work hard. It's a good spot for me, the team is going in the right direction and I love it here."
With files from The Associated Press