The Panthers’ busy offseason continued Saturday as Florida not only signed defenseman Jason Demers to a five-year deal, but locked in center Vincent Trocheck with a six-year contract as well.
Demers, who spent the past two seasons with Dallas after six in San Jose, is expected to fill a top-four spot and nicely replaces Dmitry Kulikov after the Panthers traded him to Buffalo last weekend.
“I always liked the [Panthers] team, their young core after playing against them the past few seasons,” said Demers, whose deal is worth $22.5 million.
“I like where they’re headed and it seems like a good fit. … It was kind of a no-brainer for me. I wanted to go where we had a chance to win. I’m super excited to move forward with this.”
Trocheck, 22, had a breakout season for the Panthers last year as the Pittsburgh native centered Florida’s second line for much of the second half and scored a career-high 25 goals despite missing the final six games.
With Trocheck — who will be paid $4.75 million over the next six seasons — in the fold, the Panthers have locked up a good chunk of their young core.
Bjugstad and Sasha Barkov signed six-year deals with the Panthers over the past two years, and defenseman Aaron Ekblad got an eight-year contract Friday.