PITTSBURGH (AP) -Evgeni Malkin is staying in Pittsburgh for quite some time.
The Penguins signed the MVP finalist to a five-year extension worth $43.5 million on Wednesday, a deal that will keep him under contract until the 2013-14 season. The 21-year-old forward still has one year left on his initial three-year, entry level contract.
His deal is equal to one signed by teammate Sidney Crosby that begins with the upcoming season.
Signing Malkin was key to the Penguins, who lost Marian Hossa to the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings earlier Wednesday. Malkin could've become a free agent after next season if he didn't have a new deal.
"This is an important signing for our franchise and the city of Pittsburgh and we commend Evgeni on his commitment to the future of the franchise and the city," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement. "This signing continues to ensure the young core of this team can stay intact for years to come."
Malkin will earn $9 million for each of the first four seasons of the deal and then $7.5 million in 2013-14. He has one year left at $984,000.
Malkin is arguably the team's best player besides Crosby. He scored 106 points, including 47 goals, last season and was an All-Star and a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which is given to the NHL's most valuable player.
Keeping him in Pittsburgh was one of the team's top priorities.
Malkin was selected by the Penguins with the second overall pick in the 2004 draft. He scored 33 goals in the 2006-07 season on his way to being named the league's rookie of the year.