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Crosby signs 5-year, $43.5 million extension with Penguins

NHL.com @NHL

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Sidney Crosby signed a five-year contract extension worth $43.5 million that will keep the NHL MVP and scoring champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins through the 2012-13 season.

The three-year contract Crosby signed as a rookie lasts through the coming season. The extension keeps him under contract for the next six seasons, but also enables Crosby to negotiate a new deal shortly before he turns 26.

Crosby's deal includes a signing bonus of more than $5 million and is front-loaded, meaning he'll make more in the early years of the deal, though a yearly breakdown was not immediately available. The salary cap value each year of the deal is $8.7 million - Crosby wears No. 87 and was born on Aug. 7, 1987.

"Individual honors and scoring championships are great, but my No. 1 goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Crosby said Tuesday in a statement issued by the team. "I'd love to be a part of bringing the Cup back here to Pittsburgh."

The deal was designed to give the Penguins some flexibility in signing other young stars, such as Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, in the coming seasons, Crosby's agent Pat Brisson said.

"He wanted to obviously help general manager Ray Shero put the right numbers together to help the team," Brisson said. "Building a winner is key to him."

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, meaning Crosby could have earned up to $10.06 million a year.

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.

"When you've got a guy who leads the league in scoring and wins the MVP award at the age of 19, you know have someone very special," Shero said. "But Sid also is a tremendous asset for this organization as a leader in the dressing room, and as the face of our franchise in the community."

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.

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 that 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.

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