Panthers Come to Agreement With Anton Lundell, Lock Up Core

Panthers Agreement Anton Lundell

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - JUNE 24: Anton Lundell #15 of the Florida Panthers lifts the Stanley Cup after Florida's 2-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers in Game Seven of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena on June 24, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sunrise, FL – The Florida Panthers core looks to be locked in for a long time. The Panthers reached an agreement with restricted free agent center Anton Lundell for a six-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $5 million.

This comes days after their top goal scorer in Sam Reinhart agreed to an eight-year contract worth a total of $69 million just before free agency opened on July 1.

Lundell, who will be 23 years old when the season starts, spent most of last season anchoring the third line, sometimes moving up to the second line when injuries popped up to Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett. The Panthers project him to find a permanent home on the second line behind his Finnish compatriot in Barkov.

The Panthers drafted Lundell 12th overall in 2020 and called him up to the NHL in 2021-22 where he scored 18 goals and recorded 26 assists in 65 games. This year he notched 13 goals and 22 assists with a plus/minus of +19. He also had a career-best 54.9 percent faceoff win percentage.

Ready to Defend

Eight of the Panthers’ top nine forwards are returning next year to defend their Stanley Cup. Four of them are locked in for at least six years. With Carter Verhaeghe possibly signing an extension this summer per David Dwork of The Hockey News, that number can reach five.

Lundell, Barkov, and Matthew Tkachuk will become free agents after the 2029-30 season. Reinhart won’t hit free agency until 2031-32.

Nine of Florida’s 10 leading scorers from this past season will be back for 2024-25.

The only player not returning to the top three forward lines for Florida is Vladimir Tarasenko, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings on July 3 for two years with a $4.75 AAV. The 32-year-old notched six goals and eight assists after being traded to the Panthers in early March. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and has been negotiating with other teams.

On the defensive side, the Panthers came to a mid-season agreement on an extension for Gustav Forsling for eight years and $5.75 AAV.

“It’s a big head start,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said to the media on the first day of free agency. “If you are not successful in getting every piece you want to get, is the train still moving forward? Because the core you built will sustain it. That’s the hope, for sure. … But we’re still trying to get it right. We’ll never stop trying to get the right pieces and the right people, and plug them in.”

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