Panthers, Sam Bennett agree to four-year, $17.7M contract

Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett shoots against the Nashville Predators in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

The Florida Panthers and restricted free agent Sam Bennett have agreed to a four-year, $17.7 million contract, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports.

Bennett, 25, was due to be a restricted free agent on Wednesday, with the opening of the new league year. He's now under contract through the 2024-25 season, carrying a cap hit of $4.425 million annually. The new deal takes up his final RFA year (arbitration-eligible) plus three UFA years.

After spending the first seven years of his pro career with the Calgary Flames, the club that drafted him fourth overall in 2014, Bennett joined the Panthers at this year's trade deadline. The fresh start in Florida brought instant success -- after registering just four goals and 12 points in 38 regular season games with Calgary, the gritty middle-six forward tallied six goals and 15 points in just 10 games with his new club to close out the season. He was also extremely effective in what was a short post-season run, playing at a point-per-game pace in five games against Tampa Bay.

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