#3: Aleksander Barkov’s Contract Extension
I may have specified that Barkov’s draft pick may not have been on this list, but it’s hard to omit all of Aleksander Barkov from a Dale Tallon recap.
Barkov, after being the first-line center for the Panthers in 2 of his first 3 seasons, was given a hefty six-year/$34.5 million extension after the Panthers returned to the playoffs in 2015-16.
Barkov was seen as a top player in the NHL at the time by Tallon, and locking him up until 2022 with a no-movement clause and a modified no-trade clause in the last two seasons of his contract seemed necessary.
Since signing the extension, Barkov has been voted an all-star, named team captain, finished 10th in the NHL in scoring, and broke the Panthers’ franchise record for most points in a single season. Not bad for a 23-year-old.
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Barkov’s defense has also continuously increased over this time frame, nominated for the Selke award once, but losing out to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Barkov is hailed as a top forward in the NHL and a sure Selke winner for years to come.
Enough about Barkov, let’s discuss why the contract is one of Tallon’s best moves as GM. Barkov is being paid $5.9 million for the next three seasons, tied with Huberdeau for the third-most expensive Panther on the current roster. Considering his value to the organization, having to pay Barkov south of six million dollars is pure genius.
For more reference, let’s look at some of the other contracts of elite forwards in the NHL. Jack Eichel, Buffalo’s captain and franchise player, has just 86 fewer points than Barkov in 127 fewer games, very impressive for a center just one year younger than Barkov. Eichel is being paid $4.1 million more than Barkov and is under contract for four more years than Barkov.
Another divisional center Barkov out-scored this season was Toronto’s John Tavares. Tavares, to his credit, was a vital piece for a playoff team, and actually scored 16 more goals than Barkov did this season. His contact, however, sees JT make $5.9 million more than Florida’s captain, which pays him until he’s 34 years of age.
For more justice on how great the contract is, here is a list of players making at least $2 million more than Barkov: Corey Perry, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Phil Kessel. All of these players weren’t even within 10 points of Barkov this season.