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The Cornerstone: Sasha Barkov solidifies Florida Panthers legacy

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Sasha Barkov solidified his legacy with the Florida Panthers by agreeing to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension on Friday. The new deal could keep Barkov in South Florida through the end of his NHL career. // Roger Lee Photography (561) 866-2000

When Sasha Barkov walked into the Eaton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon, he was greeted with a collage of pictures documenting his first eight seasons with the Florida Panthers.

Once exiting the elevator on the ninth floor, big screen televisions played a year-by-year highlight loop of Barkov’s exploits with the Panthers.

From his rookie season to playing with Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr to being named captain of the team, Barkov has grown up with the Panthers.

And after signing an eight-year contract extension with the team, he will continue to grow old with the team as well.

General manager Bill Zito and Barkov’s agent Todd Diamond hammered out a long-term extension which will keep Barkov with the Panthers for a long, long time.

“Seeing those photos and the videos, it doesn’t feel like it has been that long ago,’’ Barkov said as he sat down with Florida Hockey Now following his poolside press conference overlooking Fort Lauderdale.

“It really feels like I have been here one or two years. It has gone by fast.”

The money, and the way it is structured to be paid out, is fantastic.

And it is deserved.

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