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Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad reacts after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens

Lynne Sladky/AP

The Florida Panthers have signed forward Nick Bjugstad to a new six-year deal worth almost US$25-million.

Bjugstad was in the final year of his entry level contract which will pay him $900,000 and could have become a restricted free agent at the end of the year. The deal, first reported by the Miami Herald, will pay him $4.1-million per year.

"(Nick) is a big, strong and skilled forward who will play an important role on our club for the next several seasons," general manager Dale Tallon said without confirming financial details of the deal. "Nick, along with Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson and Johnathan Huberdeau are all part of our club's growing nucleus of young and talented players that will lead our team to future success."

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Bjugstad, who left the University of Minnesota in 2012 to sign with the Panthers, has a team leading 13 goals in 34 games this season and appears set to surpass the 16 goals he netted a year ago. The former 2010 first round pick leads the team with 21 points this season after leading the club in scoring a year ago with 38 points.

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