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Staal agrees to seven-year, $57M deal with 'Canes @NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Eric Staal to a seven-year contract extension.

The deal signed Thursday is worth $57.75 million, will pay him an average of $8.25 million starting in 2009-10 and will last through 2015-16.

The 23-year-old two-time All-Star and MVP of last year's All-Star game has been discussing the new deal with team officials all summer. General manager Jim Rutherford made a long-term deal one of his top priorities heading into training camp, which starts next week.

The Hurricanes' first-round draft pick in 2003 is entering the final year of the three-year deal he signed in 2006 and will make $5 million this season.

Staal, who centers Peter Laviolette's No. 1 line, had 100 points three seasons ago in leading Carolina to its first Cup. He bounced back from a subpar 2006-07 season with 38 goals and 44 assists last season.

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