The Panthers signed defenseman Mike Matheson to an eight-year contract extension worth $39 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Matheson, a first-round pick for the Panthers in 2013 out of Boston College, is coming off his first full NHL season in which he scored eight goals and seven assists in 81 games. Matheson averaged just over 21 minutes of ice time last season.
He isn’t the only blue-liner for the Panthers with a long-term deal.
Aaron Ekblad, 21, is in the first year of an 8-year, $60 million contract.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Bob Boughner was pleased with his team’s effort and overall performance in what marked his Panthers coaching debut on Friday, just not the result.
“There are no moral victories,” Boughner said after the Panthers lost a 5-3 decision to Tampa Bay. “We feel good about the way we played last night. We still didn’t get a point, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
The Panthers had plenty of scoring chances.
“We had it 24-12 for us,” Boughner said of the Panthers’ scoring opportunities. “We had the chances. But their goalie [Andrei Vasilevskiy] came up big when they needed him to. We didn’t bear down on a few of our chances.”
▪ The Panthers coaching staff named four alternate captains to serve under captain Derek MacKenzie: Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, Sasha Barkov and Vincent Trocheck.
“I told the coaching staff that I wouldn’t want their job in trying to pick the ‘A’s’ on the team,” MacKenzie said. “I think there’s a lot of them.
“There could have been more. We have a great leadership group. Whether it was two or four, it probably wasn’t easy on the coaching staff. But they picked great guys.”
▪ After scoring four goals in 82 games last season for the Panthers, defenseman Mark Pysyk did not waste time, scoring
a second-period goal.
“I like doing that,” Pysyk said. “I was sort of more defensive-minded the last five years as a pro. But when there’s an opportunity, you jump up and just kind of wait for your chances. I’m just happy it went in, didn’t miss the net.”
▪ It wasn’t a strong season opener for Roberto Luongo.
The 38-year-old goalie for the Panthers gave up two soft goals early as the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
“I need to be better, that’s the bottom line,” Luongo said. “I think that was the difference in the game.”
James Reimer started in goal Saturday for the Panthers.