Hockey

Zetterberg inks 12-year extension with Wings

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg signed a contract extension Wednesday worth $73 million US over 12 years — the longest and most lucrative deal in franchise history.

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg signed a contract extension Wednesday worth $73 million US over 12 years — the longest and most lucrative deal in franchise history.

Under the terms of the front-loaded extension, Zetterberg will pocket $7.4 million next season, $7.75 million from 2010-11 through 2012-13, $7.5 million from 2013-14 through 2016-17, $3.35 million in 2017-18 and $1 million in each of the final two years.

"Henrik is one of the world's premier players at both ends of the ice," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters at Wednesday's announcement.

"This is a tremendous commitment on the part of the organization, as well as by Henrik. We're thrilled that a player we drafted and developed will play out his career in Detroit with this lifetime contract."

Holland noted the extension is structured in such a way that it "gives us a chance to keep an extra player down the road."

"I'm happy I don't have to do it again," Zetterberg said. "I don't want to play anywhere else."

Zetterberg, 28, is considered a franchise cornerstone and the possible successor to defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom as captain.

A terrific two-way player, the stylish Swede has compiled 169 goals and 206 assists for 375 points in 400 NHL games since he was drafted in the seventh round (210th overall) by Detroit in 1999.

"From the start, they have been taking good care of me," Zetterberg said.

Zetterberg ranks third among Red Wings this season with 43 points in 45 games, including 17 goals, but he was forced out of Tuesday night's 3-2 overtime loss at Columbus because of lower back spasms.

Zetterberg was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as top playoff performer last spring, posting a team-high 27 points en route to capturing the first Stanley Cup of his career.

He also topped the Red Wings with 43 goals last season, and trailed only linemate Pavel Datsyuk with a career-high 92 points.

"Our goal is to try to keep this team together," Red Wings vice-president Steve Yzerman said. "He is the kind of person and the kind of player we want in this organization."

With files from the Associated Press