Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today the club has signed defenseman Mike Matheson to an eight-year contract extension.

"Mike is an important part of our team's young core and we are thrilled that he has decided to remain a Panther for the long-term," said Tallon. "He is a dynamic and intelligent defenseman with impeccable character and work ethic. Mike has developed into a difference maker on our blue line and will be an important player and leader for the Panthers for many years to come."

Matheson, 23, recorded 17 points (7-10-17) in 81 games during his 2016-17 rookie season and logged the most even-strength ice time of all Panthers defensemen (1453:51). The 6-foot-2, 192-pound native of Pointe-Claire, Quebec, logged the second most short-handed minutes among all Panthers players on Florida's second-ranked penalty kill (210:21). His seven goals tied him for second among all rookie defensemen in goals, while ranking second among rookie blueliners in shots (179).

He has played in 87 career NHL games, all with Florida. In five career playoff games, Matheson has registered one point.