Panthers working on 8-year extension with Michael Matheson

Florida Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson (19) holds Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (22) during a brawl in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (Alan Diaz/AP)

The Florida Panthers are working on a massive eight-year contract extension with defenceman Michael Matheson, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Matheson, 23, enjoyed a breakthrough 2016-17 campaign, recording 17 points in 81 games with the Panthers. It was the first full NHL season for the Pointe-Claire, Que., native, who was selected in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by Florida.

He became a dependable blue liner for the Panthers last season, averaging 21:03 minutes per game.

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