Panthers sign Sam Bennett to 4-year deal; Sam Reinhart next?


              FILE - Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett (9) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., in this Tuesday, April 20, 2021, file photo. Sam Bennett re-signed with the Florida Panthers on Monday, July 26, 2021, inking a four-year contract with the team that has been a good fit for him since joining at the trade deadline. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach, FIle)
FILE - Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett (9) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., in this Tuesday, April 20, 2021, file photo. Sam Bennett re-signed with the Florida Panthers on Monday, July 26, 2021, inking a four-year contract with the team that has been a good fit for him since joining at the trade deadline. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach, FIle)

The Florida Panthers have signed restricted free agent forward Sam Bennett to a $17.7 million, four-year contract. Bennett put up 15 points in 10 regular-season games and was a point-a-game player in the playoffs since joining from Calgary at the trade deadline. The Panthers now need a new deal for Sam Reinhart after acquiring him from Buffalo. In other moves around the NHL, New Jersey acquired defenseman Christian Jaros from San Jose for forward Nick Merkley, St. Louis re-signed Aussie Nathan Walker for two years and Jake Virtanen cleared unconditional waivers to move him closer to a buyout by Vancouver.

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