PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby has a new contract before his 20th birthday and his eye on the Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The NHL MVP and scoring champion signed a five-year extension through the 2012-13 season worth $43.5 million. The deal leaves room for the team to re-sign other young stars, such as Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, in the coming seasons.
“It feels great, especially with the group of guys we have, to know I’m going to be able to grow with these guys and spend a while with them,” Crosby said Tuesday. “To have that sense of security, it definitely feels good.”
The three-year contract Crosby signed as a rookie lasts through the coming season, and the five-year extension keeps him under contract for the next six seasons. Crosby may negotiate a new deal shortly before he turns 26, when he should be in his prime, agent Pat Brisson said.
“The main goal here was that we had to establish that Sidney is all about winning,” Brisson said. “He wanted to obviously help general manager Ray Shero put the right numbers together to help the team. Building a winner is key to him.”
Crosby, who turns 20 next month, won the Hart Trophy last month to become the league’s youngest MVP since Wayne Gretzky.The Penguins made Crosby the youngest captain in league history after last season, when he led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists). He helped the Penguins win 47 games after they won only 22 the season before.
The Penguins’ 47-point improvement was the fourth best in NHL history. They were eliminated in five games by eventual Eastern Conference champion Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs.
“Individual honors and scoring championships are great, but my No. 1 goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” Crosby said. “I’d love to be a part of bringing the Cup back here to Pittsburgh.”
General manager Ray Shero called Crosby a “tremendous asset to the organization” and termed the negotiations “very amicable and cordial.”
“We had common ground and a lot of that had to do with Sidney’s desire to stay in Pittsburgh,” Shero said.
Crosby’s deal includes a signing bonus of more than $5 million and is front-loaded. That means he’ll make more in the early years, though a yearly breakdown was not immediately available.
Crosby’s salary-cap value each year of the deal is $8.7 million. The number has other significance: Crosby wears No. 87 and was born Aug. 7, 1987.
“It seems like a pretty good number. I thought it was kind of unique so I’m happy with that,” said Crosby, who said he’s celebrating the deal by spending some time with his parents.
The deal also reflected Crosby’s desire to have his young teammates remain in town as well.”I think it was important just to do what was right for everyone,” Crosby said. “We have a unique situation with our team with so many great young players. I think we all want to be there and hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”
Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, no player can make more than 20 percent of a team’s cap value, which is now $50.3 million. That means Crosby could have earned up to $10.06 million a year.
Since few, if any, players in the league could argue they’re worth more than Crosby, his $8.7 million average is likely to keep the price of other NHL superstars well below the maximum.
“We could have done a long-term deal and all that, but it’s fair to Sidney and the team to do it this way and not take every dime from the team, but also not to lock him into an eight- or 10-year deal,” Brisson said.
Crosby is set to earn a base salary of $850,000 this season, though he’s expected to earn about four times that much with performance bonuses.
The Penguins have concentrated on signing players to fill roles Shero felt the team lacked in its brief playoff appearance — the team’s first since 2001.
The biggest free-agent signings were $5 million, two-year deals with two former Stanley Cup winners, right wing goal-scorer Petr Sykora and defenseman Darryl Sydor.
The Penguins also re-signed their best young defenseman, Ryan Whitney, to a $24 million, six-year contract; signed backup goaltender Dany Sabourin; and re-signed steady defenseman Rob Scuderi.