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Bruins lock up Lucic with three-year extension

Saturday, 09.15.2012 / 1:30 PM / News

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Peter Chiarelli's to-do list for this week is done.

The Boston Bruins' general manager completed a busy stretch on Saturday by locking up another core forward, Milan Lucic, with a three-year extension that will keep the 24-year-old in black and gold through the 2015-16 season. The extension, which kicks in after his current contract expires in 2012-13, carries an average annual value of $6 million.

Combined with the signings of young forwards Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, Chiarelli has locked up three key young members of the core group that led Boston to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic
Left Wing - BOS
GOALS: 26 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 61
SOG: 149 | +/-: 7
"He's a solid contributor. He's become a signature player," Chiarelli said of Lucic during a media conference call a few hours after the signing was announced. "He loves to play, loves to be physical, and he's a big part of this team.

"He marks the end of three signings we've done over the course of a couple of weeks. I think it shows commitments from Milan, from the other players and commitment from our owners, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs. We're happy to have Milan in the mix for four more years."

The only person happier than Chiarelli was Lucic, who was ecstatic at the thought of staying with the only NHL team he's ever played for.

"I've spent five great years here in Boston," he said. "I've embraced the Bruins and the city of Boston, and they've embraced me. I'm really excited for this. I'm happy to be remaining a Bruin. There's no other team in the NHL that I'd rather play for."

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Vancouver, has played in 359 NHL games, all with the Bruins, scoring 90 goals and adding 122 assists for 212 points, along with 525 penalty minutes and a plus-43 rating. Lucic has helped the Bruins advance to the playoffs in all five of his seasons and has skated in 62 career playoff games, scoring 15 goals and adding 20 assists for 35 points along with 137 penalty minutes.

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Lucic, 24, played 81 games last season, scoring 26 goals and adding a career-high 35 assists for 61 points, one shy of his career best. He reached the 20-goal mark for the second straight season and was the first of six NHL players to reach both 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes in 2011-12.

Chiarelli feels it's a good deal for both sides.

"He's a very good player on our team," Chiarelli said. "This is a deal that both sides are comfortable with. It gives us, under the current system, two years of UFA, which is huge. It gives Milan the ability to get back to the market in four years, but still gives him an element of security, playing with the team and in the city he loves."

Earlier this week, the Bruins inked Seguin, the second player chosen in the 2010 NHL Draft, to a six-year extension at an average $5.75 million per season. The deal came only days after Brad, also with a year remaining on his contract, signed a four-year extension worth a total of $18 million.

In an eight-day span, the Bruins have committed $70.5 million in future salary to Lucic, Seguin, and Marchand.

"These are big numbers we've given these guys the past little bit," Chiarelli said. "They're deserving of them. They're all very good players, core guys. It's more about keeping the core together. We don't throw caution to the wind. We do our planning with different scenarios depending on what the system will be going forward. We feel we've got some latitude going forward."

Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in 2010-11 and finished with a career-high 62 points, then added five goals and 12 points in the playoffs as the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1972, said Chiarelli's efforts to keep the core of the Cup team together were a major reason he wanted to stay in Boston.

"This is a deal that both sides are comfortable with. It gives us, under the current system, two years of UFA, which is huge. It gives Milan the ability to get back to the market in four years, but still gives him an element of security, playing with the team and in the city he loves."
-- Boston Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli

"Him keeping all the core guys, guys I've built really good relationships with, that makes me want to stay more," he said. "He believes in all of us, and we believe in him and what he's trying to build here.

"What the Bruins have been preaching about more than anything else is 'team' and everyone being on the same page. Peter definitely has done a good job of finding guys who are willing to sacrifice and be on the same page. I think that's why we're a real competitive team."

Lucic was the Bruins' second-round choice (No. 50) in the 2006 NHL Draft. He joined the team a year later after three seasons with his hometown Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.

"To be a Bruin means a lot," he said. "Being an athlete in Boston has been one of the best experiences of my life, and to be able to continue doing that is definitely a dream come true. To be embraced by all the fans here has been awesome, and to be embraced by my teammates and the organization -- I can't say enough about how grateful I am.

"I'm real happy that I'm in a place where I want to be for three more years with this extension. I believe in everything Peter has done as general manager here, and I'm happy he wants to make me a big part of the puzzle."

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1