Tha Sports Junkies 101

Panthers to sign Ekblad to Eight-Year Extension

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News Sarah A./via

Defenseman’s New Deal Worth $60 million


SUNRISE, FL-NHL free agency is set to begin in under three hours. That means teams are looking to add pieces to their team or keep key components of them. The Florida Panthers made sure  that they would not risk losing one of their key pieces for the future.

The Panthers have agreed to sign defenseman Aaron Ekblad to an eight-year contract extension that will be worth $60 million.

The 20-year-old Ekblad has quickly established himself as a cornerstone on the Florida blue line since being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 Entry Draft.

The Windsor, Ontario native tallied 36 points and averaged 21:40 of ice time in 78 games last season. In his two NHL seasons, he has notched 27 goals and 75 points in 159 game. He added an assist in the Panthers’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders this past spring.

Agreeing to a new contract with Ekblad takes massive worry off of Florida’s front office next summer.

Ekblad enters the 2016-17 season in the final year of his rookie contract. He would’ve been a much sought after target if he would’ve gone into free agency next year.

Not only does the new deal benefit the Panthers, it also benefits the young blue liner. The $7.5 million average annual value of his new contract would make Ekblad the fifth-highest paid defenseman in the NHL.

He is not expected to sign the deal today, but, according to reports, will do so “soon.”