Michael Matheson’s eight-year, $39MM contract extension with the Panthers last month caught many by surprise. He is the least-experienced player to receive a max-term deal and his is the cheapest by $7MM. Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated reports that the eight-year contract wasn’t even on the mind of the team when they first approached him about an early extension as GM Dale Tallon proposed both a bridge deal and a longer-termed one of five or six years in length. Instead, Matheson’s camp preferred to look for eight years, something that Tallon and the Panthers were clearly amenable to. Despite their confidence in him, Matheson has struggled out of the gate this season with just one assist through 12 games while his ATOI is down by over two minutes a night but his new contract doesn’t get underway until 2018-19.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Still with Florida, despite participating in practice this week, Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo remains listed as week-to-week, notes Matthew DeFranks of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The veteran has missed the last six games with a right-hand injury while James Reimer and recently-claimed Antti Niemi have struggled lately in his absence.
- Although Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was initially very optimistic about defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic not needing to miss too much time due to a head injury, Paul Gackle of the Mercury News notes that the bench boss chose his words a bit more carefully on Friday. While he’s still hopeful that Vlasic won’t be out long, he did acknowledge that these injuries can be prone to setbacks. The blueliner was injured on Wednesday night against Nashville and did not skate either Thursday or Friday.
- Dallas center Martin Hanzal, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, will miss at least the next two games as well, head coach Ken Hitchcock told Mark Stepneski of the Stars’ team website. As Gavin noted earlier, Hanzal has not started well with his new team after signing a three-year, $14.25MM contract early in free agency as he has just a lone goal through 11 games in the early going of the season. The team is targeting November 10th as a potential return date.