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Canucks G Luongo signs 12-year, $64M extension

Wednesday, 09.02.2009 / 3:31 PM / News

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Goaltender Roberto Luongo chose to finish his career in Vancouver because he believes the Canucks can win a Stanley Cup.

The 12-year, $64-million contract extension he signed on Wednesday may help.

Luongo's new contract comes with an annual salary cap hit of just $5.33-million, which is down from the $6.75-million average of his current four-year, $27-million deal that expires at the end of the upcoming season.

"I want to win the Stanley Cup," Luongo said on a conference call. "That's why I play. We had to do something that made sense for both me and the team, and I think that s what we accomplished by doing a deal where the money is a bit more front-loaded."

Luongo's deal includes a no-trade clause, keeping the 30-year-old Canucks captain in Vancouver until the 2021-22 season.

The new deal pays Luongo $10-million in 2010-11, but just $1 million in each of the final two seasons to give the Canucks more flexibility under the NHL salary cap.

"For me it was more about my love for the game," Luongo said. "I just want to play as long as I can. I don't see what s wrong with that."

He also plans to play for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"Roberto Luongo is the leader of our hockey team; he is in the prime of his playing career and has a tremendous desire to make the Canucks a championship team," general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. "His leadership, competitiveness and character are what this team will represent for many years to come."

Luongo was 33-13-7 last season, when he became the first NHL goalie in 60 years to be selected a team captain. He finished second in the league with nine shutouts and fifth in both goals-against average (2.35) and save percentage (.920).

He was fourth in Vezina Trophy voting as the league's top goalie, finishing one vote short of being a finalist for the third time in his career despite missing almost two months in the middle of the season with a serious groin injury.

The year ended on a sour note though, as he gave up seven goals in a Game 6 loss to Chicago in the second round of the playoffs. Luongo, who indicated during the season he might play out the final year of his contract and become a free agent, said it took a while to get over that loss.

"Unfortunately one game has ruined a lot of things for me, but you try to move on and turn the page because that s not who I am," Luongo said. "I thought we had a chance last year with the team we had and at the end of the day that s all you can ask for."

Luongo was a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP after posting 47 wins in 2006-07. He has a 115-64-22 record, 20 shutouts and 2.33 goals-against average over his first three seasons in Vancouver.

Luongo was acquired from Florida in a six-player trade at the 2006 NHL draft and signed the four-year contract extension, stabilizing the position for a Canucks team that used 18 different goaltenders over the previous eight seasons.

Drafted fourth overall by the New York Islander in 1997, Luongo was traded to Florida three years later and spent the next five seasons with the Panthers.

He is 230-232-33-31 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 544 career NHL games. He led the Canucks to the second round of the playoffs in 2007 and 2009.

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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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