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Leafs lock up Lupul for five years

Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 12:49 PM / News

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Leafs lock up Lupul for five years
After being traded four times in the past seven years, Joffrey Lupul has found his place on Toronto's top line and signed a five-year contract extension with the club Sunday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Joffrey Lupul to a five-year contract extension, the club announced Sunday.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported the deal boasts an average salary of $5.25 million, as well as a limited no-trade clause. Lupul, who had 25 goals and 67 points while forming a potent partnership with Phil Kessel in 2011-12, is now inked through the 2017-18 campaign.

"Joffrey has proven to be a dynamic offensive player and since joining our hockey club he has fit in extremely well with our team," general manager Dave Nonis said in a statement. "His alternate captaincy is well deserved and, by signing this extension, we look forward to him playing a large role with the Leafs for many years to come."

This is the first major move for Nonis since he was named the franchise's new GM, replacing Brian Burke on Jan. 9. The biggest move Burke made in his four seasons as GM in Toronto was acquiring Kessel, a transaction that has generated much debate after the Boston Bruins ended up with Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight from the draft picks he yielded.

Even if most pundits and fans see the Kessel trade as a negative, the deal made to add Lupul (and defenseman Jake Gardiner) for defenseman Francois Beauchemin is one of the best moves Burke made during his tenure.

Lupul had two seasons with at least 25 goals before joining the Maple Leafs (2005-06 in Anaheim and 2008-09 with Philadelphia) but he set a career high with 67 points in 2011-12 despite missing 16 games because of an injury. He was also named to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, the first time he earned such an honor in his career.

The 29-year-old Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, native has 151 goals and 323 points in 515 career NHL games. This contract could provide a level of stability to Lupul's career that has not been seen to this point. Toronto is the fourth NHL team he has played for since breaking into the League with Anaheim in 2003-04, and counting his two tours of duty with the Ducks, Lupul has been traded four times in the past seven years.

"Thrilled to be a Maple Leaf for 5 more years," Lupul wrote on his Twitter account (@JLupul). "Look forward to doing everything I can to help bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto."

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