Penguins sign Crosby to 5-year extension
NHL's reigning MVP will earn $43.5 million US over life of deal
Sidney Crosby will lead the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ice and in salary next season after agreeing to a $43.5-million US extension on Tuesday.
The five-year deal will keep the youngest captain in NHL history in a Penguins uniform through the 2012-13 NHL season.
"I really enjoy playing and living in Pittsburgh, and I want to be here for a long time," said Crosby, a native of Cole Harbour, N.S., who wasnamed theleague's most valuable player in June.
"Individual honours and scoring championships are great, but my No. 1 goal is to win the Stanley Cup. I'd love to be a part of bringing the Cup back here to Pittsburgh."
For each of the first four seasons of the extension, Crosby will be paid $9 million, with the first year including a $5-million signing bonus. He'll get $7.5 million in 2012-2013.
"Sidney could have done a longer term, 10 years for that matter, but he's only 19,"Brisson said. "It's only fair to him to go on a five-year extension at this stage of his career.
"Five years from now, his life might be different."
The deal, though lucrative, was expected to give the Penguins some flexibility in signing its other young stars, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, in the coming seasons.
"Sidney is all about winning,"Brisson said. "He could have signed for a million or so more a year, but he wants to help the team build a winner.
"By doing what he did, it's another sign of his leadership."
The NHL/NHL Players' Association collective bargaining agreement stipulatesthe total contract amount is to be averaged for annual inclusion under each team's salary cap. Taking that into account,Crosby will be the league's highest-paid player when his extension kicks in.
First to 100, 200 career points
Crosby is the NHL's youngest MVP since Wayne Gretzky, collecting a league-best 120 points last season. Healso captured the Lester B. Pearson award as the most outstanding player, voted by his peers.
The youngest player in NHL history to record 100 and 200 career points, Crosby will earn $850,000 US in base salary in the final season of a three-year, entry-level contract he signed as a rookie.
"Sidney has proven himself to be a dynamic player and team leader at a very young age, and it is exciting news for our franchise and our fans to have him under contract for the next six seasons," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a release on Tuesday.
"When you've got a guy who leads the league in scoring and wins the MVP award at the age of 19, you know you have someone very special."
Pittsburgh won 25 more games last seasonover the previous year, and finished 2006-2007 with 47 more points.
Crosby's performance also helped the Penguins to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and their first playoff berth since 2001, though they were brushed aside in five games in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup finalist Ottawa Senators.
After Pittsburgh was eliminated, Crosby revealed he had played the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs with a fractured bone in his left foot.
Crosby made his NHL debut in October, 2005, after being the No. 1 entry draft selection. He scored 39 goals and assisted on 63 in his rookie season.
The signing of the five-foot-11, 194-poundCrosby is the latest big-money deal following a recent increase in the league salary cap to just over $50 million from last season's $44 million.
The New York Rangers will pay Scott Gomez $10 million next season after signing the unrestricted free agent and former New Jersey Devils forward to a seven-year contract worth $51.5 million.
Philadelphiasigned free agent Daniel Briere to an eight-year, $52-million contract, while the BuffaloSabres will pay Thomas Vanek $10 million next season after retaining the forward in a $50-million, seven-year pact that matched an offer sheet from the Edmonton Oilers.
With files from the Canadian Press