By Vincent Deforte
The Pittsburgh Penguins and all-star center Sidney Crosby have agreed to a massive 12-year contract extension Thursday. The new contract will carry an average salary of about $8.7 million a season. The contract would go into effect for the 2013-14 season. Crosby has played in just 28 games in the last two seasons after sustaining a concussion against the Washington Capitals in the Winter Classic in January, 2011.
There had been questions regarding Crosby’s numerous concussions as well as his commitment to returning. Penguins management and fans alike have stuck with “Sid the Kid” in his recovery from those concussions. The announcement of the new contract are proof of Crosby’s and the Penguins commitment.
“This is a great day for hockey and tremendous news for the Pittsburgh Penguins and our fans,” co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a joint statement. “We are grateful for all that Sidney Crosby has done for our franchise since coming to Pittsburgh in 2005, both on and off the ice, and we look forward to having him in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his career.”
The deal keeps the 24-year-old Crosby in Pittsburgh through 2025 and gives the team some room to play in the free-agent market. Crosby’s current contract was set to expire next summer. Crosby will officially sign the extension on Sunday.
Crosby finished with eight goals and 29 assists last season and added three goals in a first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia.
He stressed throughout the playoffs he had every intention of remaining in Pittsburgh, where he was the top overall pick in the 2005 draft.
“In an era when players often move from team to team, it’s gratifying to see a young man who is so committed to one city and one franchise,” Penguins president David Morehouse said. “He’s meant so much to the Penguins, to the growth of youth hockey in Pittsburgh, and to the NHL and the game of hockey in general. It’s a tremendous feeling to know he’ll be here through 2025.”