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Rust agrees to six-year contract with Penguins

Forward gets $5.125 million annually, could have become unrestricted free agent

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Bryan Rust agreed to a six-year, $30.75 million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. It has an average annual value of $5.125 million.

The 30-year-old forward could have become an unrestricted free agent July 13.

"I think for me, term of the contract was important," Rust said Sunday. "Obviously, six years is a long time ... But I think our mindset was getting something done in Pittsburgh and if there was a little bit of it discount taken, I guess there could have been. But we're happy here. This is a number that we're really happy with. I'm very happy with it. And I think if that helps sign some other guys that would like to be here and would like a chance to win with this team, I think that's awesome."

Rust had an NHL career-high 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) in 60 games this season. The right wing was third on the Penguins in goals and fourth in points, playing primarily on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel.

Rust also had eight points (two goals, six assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games. The Penguins were eliminated by the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round.

"We felt very comfortable with where he came in," general manager Rox Hextall said Monday. "Getting back to the deal, it's a fair deal. We obviously stretched it out on term and that helped us a little bit with the AAV. So it was a number we could both live with and we're happy with it, and happy to have Bryan for the next six years." 

Hextall said Rust's flexibility and his ability to play with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are two of his biggest assets. 

"He's an important piece to our team. He obviously plays a lot with Sid or 'Geno.' He can move up and down the lineup," Hextall said. "He can kill penalties, play the power play. So that was an important signing for us, for sure."

Hextall said Rust had a 'little procedure' on his knee a few days ago but should be ready for the start of training camp.  

Selected by Pittsburgh in the third round (No. 80) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Rust has 270 points (124 goals, 146 assists) in 424 regular-season games. He also has 35 points (21 goals, 14 assists) in 79 playoff games, helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017.

"A lot of pride comes with saying you were able to play with one organization for most, if not all, of your career," Rust said. "I think that definitely played a little bit of a factor when making this decision. Obviously, my family and what's best for them was kind of at the forefront. But those little things are always in the back of your mind too."

NHL.com independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report

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