The Panthers have extended forward Derek MacKenzie for an additional two years, reports Sun Sentinel writer Harvey Fialkov. The deal represents a modest raise, paying Mackenzie $1.35MM a year. MacKenzie is currently entering the final year of his contract that pays him $1.30MM a year.
MacKenzie—the Panthers’ alternate captain—racked up 6G and 7A in 64 games. He is best known for his gritty defensive play, and has started the majority of his shifts in the defensive zone. The fourth-line center performed well in the face-off circle last season by winning just under 55% of his face-offs. While he doesn’t light the lamp often, the Panthers value MacKenzie’s energy and defensive responsibility.
Mackenzie is a league veteran at age 35, drafted by Atlanta in 1999 before signing with Columbus in 2007. The extension will probably be Mackenzie’s last. This is a good signing for the Panthers as it locks up a veteran piece to guide the team’s young core. With the team experiencing transaction-based turmoil this offseason, bringing MacKenzie back restores some stability.