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Canes, Flyers sign key players to extensions. Is Sasha Barkov next?



Sasha Barkov sign
Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov skates onto the ice before a game at BB&T Center during the 2021 season. // Photo by Roger Topalian, 21st Century Photography (561) 488-0000

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes were both able to sign two of their key young players to long-term contract extensions. The Florida Panthers are expected to announce a new contract for star center Sasha Barkov in the coming weeks.

Philadelphia signed top center Sean Couturier to an eight-year contract extension worth $62 million; Carolina inked Andrei Svechnikov to the same deal.

Both players will have a $7.75 million cap hit.

Barkov is expected to get more from the Panthers.

Florida has been paying Barkov (and Jonathan Huberdeau) an average of $5.9 million per season since the 2016-17 season.

That six-year contract runs out following the conclusion of this coming season and the Panthers have been working on an extension with Barkov and his representation since the end of July.

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The team is thought to be close to, or Barkov has agreed to, a new contract.

Barkov remains in Finland but is expected to be back in South Florida next week with the Panthers gearing up for the start of training camp which is set to begin on Sept. 22.

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A new contract should be announced before then.

As for what kind of money and term Barkov will get, well, we have an idea.

Specifically, the question is: How much and how long?

It would not be surprising (and is all but expected) to see Barkov get the eight-year maximum — which would put him under contract until the ripe old age of 34.

As far as the financials go, Barkov has been a bargain for the Panthers at his current number, but with his team spending toward the cap ceiling — and facing a bit of a crunch with the flat cap — he probably knows he may have to settle for less in Sunrise than he could potentially get on the open market next summer.

Barkov is one of the top two-way centers in the NHL (he became the first Selke Trophy winner in franchise history) and teams would be climbing over themselves to get a chance to sign him.

Players like Barkov, who will turn 26 on Thursday and is entering his ninth (!) season, simply do not make it on the market very often.

In 2018, John Tavares famously played out what would be his final season with the Islanders and ended up signing a seven-year, $77 million deal with Toronto.

One would think Barkov certainly could get $11 million on the open market (although a flat cap could limit the number of teams he could sign with) and he may just get that here in Sunrise.

That number would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky currently makes an average of $10 million per season; Pavel Bure’s five-year deal with the team reportedly paid a touch less annually.

We will see soon enough what Barkov gets and for how long.

The Panthers are willing to pay Barkov, a player they rightfully are building this contending team around.

Barkov obviously really enjoys playing for the Panthers, especially now with the team on the rise and has made himself at home in South Florida.

We expect him to get more than Couturier and Svechnikov — how much more is simply not known right now.

Best guess? Between $9.5-11 million per season.

Again, we will know soon enough.

Next summer, we get to go through this again with Huberdeau as he will be eligible for a contract extension.

There will be plenty of time to talk about that one.

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