Aleksander Aleksandrovich Barkov Jr.
You are going to be hearing that name for quite a while, so you might as well get used to the name. Barkov just inked himself a six-year deal with a $35 million total. His AAV on the deal will be $5.9 million. For a potential number one center, that has to be a pretty good number for the Panthers, who really want to lock down their core quickly. For the 2013 draft pick, he has to be excited as well as he has proved very little in the league, but is getting the opportunity to get this huge contract. If you would have waited one year, this contract may not have happened depending on how Barkov plays moving forward.
So, where does he stack going forward?
A player that immediately came to mind when thinking of Barkov was Ryan Johansen. In Johansen’s breakout season he had extremely similar numbers to Barkov this year. I think the Panthers did their evaluation and once they realized that he was breaking out at this young of an age, they wanted to lock him down as long as possible. The Blue Jackets didn’t know what they had in Johansen and once the opportunity passed them by they were held in an uncomfortable spot.
While the Oilers have been criticized for quite sometime, you cannot fault them for trying to lock down the players they have for as long as they have. It’s a solid strategy and if the Panthers are trying to mimic that strategy, it should be an interesting case study for the league.
Who could be up next? Ekblad maybe? Whoever it may be, it probably bodes well for the Panthers who continue to trend upward.