12:35pm: The three-year contract has been officially announced by the team. PuckPedia reports that the deal will carry an average annual value of $4.167MM. GM Bill Zito released a short statement on the deal:
Carter emerged as one of the best possession forwards in hockey last season, elevating his game to fill an important role on our team. His effort, speed and creativity are infectious on and off the ice.
6:45am: Carter Verhaeghe’s first season with the Panthers was a successful one and he’s about to be rewarded for his efforts. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that the two sides are closing in on a three-year extension worth a little over $4MM per season.
The 25-year-old signed with Florida back in the fall after playing a limited role with Tampa Bay in his first NHL season. As a result, the Panthers were able to sign Verhaeghe for $1MM per year on a two-year contract. That deal has certainly turned into quite the bargain since then.
Last season, Verhaeghe got an opportunity to play in the top six and made the most of it as he very quietly finished third on the team in goals (18) and points (36) despite not seeing a lot of time on Florida’s top power play unit. He also logged 17:44 per game, a number that jumped slightly higher in the playoffs during their first-round loss to Tampa Bay. All that for a price tag of $1MM made him one of the better bargains in the league last season.
They’ll get to benefit from that low price tag for next year as well before that deal kicks in. This reported new contract will buy out the remaining two years of arbitration rights and his first season of UFA eligibility. It almost works like a bridge deal as this price tag could still wind up being below market if Verhaeghe can maintain this level of production over the life of the contract while allowing him to reach the open market in his prime earning years.