The Florida Panthers are wasting no time in getting a headstart on their off-season checklist.
Shortly after reports surfaced earlier in the day that they would be buying out the final two years of Keith Yandle's contract, the Panthers announced on Thursday afternoon that the team had come to terms with forward, Anthony Duclair on a three-year contract extension.
The deal, which runs through the 2023-24 season, carries an average annual value of $3 million.
This is the type of commitment Duclair has been waiting for for quite some time. The former third-round pick burst into the NHL with the New York Rangers in 2014 and proceeded to bounce around between five different teams throughout the following six years, staying in one organization for more than a single season only twice during that time. That was before this past offseason when Duclair landed in Florida and managed to turn yet another one-year deal into what now seems to be his long-term home.
Duclair certainly gave the Panthers reason to lock him up for the foreseeable future.
The 25-year-old put up an impressive 32 points in 43 games last season, helping guide the Panthers to their best regular-season winning percentage in franchise history during the pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign before playing a role in taking the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to six games in their first-round playoff series.
With Duclair in place, the Panthers can now turn their focus over to the likes of Sam Bennett, Lucas Wallmark, and Chris Driedger, who are each in need of new contracts ahead of next season.
Let the games begin.