SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers are in the middle of their best season in the NHL to date, but that didn’t stop the team from taking care of some serious business.
On Monday the Panthers signed 20-year-old center Aleksander Barkov to a six-year extension worth $35.4 million, a $5.9 million per year average. It is expected to be announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
This deal locks Barkov up with Florida until 2022.
Last season the Panthers gave center Nick Bjugstad a six-year deal as well, as the team continues to invest in the youngsters that general manager Dale Tallon has drafted since joining Florida in 2010.
Barkov was set to be a restricted free agent following the season.
The extension will kick in at the beginning of next season.
Barkov is currently third on the Panthers in scoring with 30 points (12g 18a) in 38 games played.
The two players in front of him, Jonathan Huberdeau (8-26-34) and Jaromir Jagr (15-18-33), are his linemates.
Barkov leads all Panthers forwards with a plus-12 on-ice rating and in minutes, averaging 19:33 per game.
The Finnish star has quickly become one of the best two-way centers in the NHL.
He’s got the fewest amount of penalty minutes of any of the team’s regulars, with just four on the season.