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FHN Today: Panthers considering trading Sasha Barkov? No

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Florida Panthers center Sasha Barkov celebrates a goal with teammates (from left) Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Lomberg and Anthony Duclair during the 2021 season. // Photo by Roger Topalian, 21st Century Photography (561) 488-0000

On Monday night, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski put up a post in which he asked Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito “if there was a date when he’d have to consider trading” star center Sasha Barkov.

Zito, according to Wyshynski, said there is not one.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to work something out,” Zito said per ESPN.

Zito, of course, has been saying this for some time.

And he’s not just blowing smoke.

Sasha Barkov is not going anywhere.

Barkov is entering the final season of the six-year contract extension he signed with the Panthers in 2016.

The Panthers were officially allowed to start negotiating a new extension with Barkov on July 28 when the new NHL year started — and they have done so. The talks have gone well by all accounts.

Although neither side is talking about it publicly, it is believed Barkov either has or is close to agreeing to a new deal. It will be announced soon enough.

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Why the holdup?

Because there is no rush. Barkov is still in Finland but will be returning to South Florida soon to start gearing up for the 2021-22 season.

When Barkov is back in Florida, the new contract will be announced. It’s pretty much that simple.

The Panthers would simply rather finalize and publicize what will be a major contract extension — Barkov is the team’s captain and the reigning Selke Trophy winner — when he is in town.

The team would much rather have Barkov here to publicize the contract than do it on a Zoom from Tampere.

As always, stay tuned.

FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS

Not a whole lot going on in the hockey world right now, but you can still bet on what’s going to happen in 2021-22. Check out the latest Vegas odds on the Panthers in yesterday’s FHN Today. (FHN)

— Expectations for the Florida Panthers should be sky-high this season. (NBC)

— Takeaways from the Panthers offseason. (SN)

AROUND THE NHL

Eric Joyce and Wes Clark, both formerly of the Panthers, received promotions from the Maple Leafs.

Clark, a former Florida scout, will stay as assistant director of player personnel, Clark while adding director of amateur scouting.

Joyce, Florida’s former assistant GM, is Toronto’s director of hockey strategy as well as its director of pro scouting. (TSN)

— Auston Matthews has wrist surgery. (SN)

— Playing GM for the cap-strapped Penguins. (PHN)

— Got questions about the Bruins? (BHN)

— Why did Detroit give Adam Erne $2.1 million? (DHN)

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