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Panthers sign Bouwmeester to 1-year deal

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Florida Panthers on Monday, one day before the sides were scheduled to go to salary arbitration.

Bouwmeester will make between $4 million and $5 million next season, nearly doubling his salary, but the sides couldn't agree on a long-term deal that the Panthers sought.

Bouwmeester scored a career-high 15 goals last season, tied for sixth among NHL defensemen. He also continued to be one of the most dependable players in the league, playing all 82 games for the third straight year and logging 2,252 minutes, by far the most in the NHL.

"While we recognize that arbitration was an option, we were always confident we would reach a mutually acceptable contract with Jay," Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said.

In his career, Bouwmeester has played in 389 games, all with Florida, with 38 goals, 123 assists and 261 penalty minutes. He was an All-Star in 2007 and was the No. 3 overall pick by the Panthers in the 2002 entry draft.

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