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Tampa Bay Lightning sign Lecavalier to US$85-million, 11-year extension @NHLdotcom

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed their all-time leading scorer Vincent Lecavalier to an extension that could keep him with the team for the rest of his career.

The Lightning signed Lecavalier to an 11-year deal on Sunday that will kick in for the 2009-10 season. A source told The Canadian Press the deal was worth US$85 million.

"I'm proud and honoured to be committing myself to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the rest of my NHL career," Lecavalier said in a release. "It's no secret how I feel about the organization, the fans and the Tampa Bay community, and there's no place else I'd rather be."

Lecavalier, 28, has 602 points (273-329) in 710 games with the Lightning.

He had 92 points (40-52) in 81 games last season, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to record back to back seasons of 40 goals or more.

The six-foot-four, 219-pound native of Ile Bizard, Que., has scored at least 32 goals in his past five seasons.

"Not only is Vincent one of the most dynamic players in the NHL, he's one of the classiest people you'll ever meet off the ice as well," Lightning vice-president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said.

"With this deal, our ownership has made it clear that he is the cornerstone of the Lightning, and Vincent has shown his dedication to the franchise and the Tampa Bay area by signing for less than he undoubtedly would've received on the open market.

"This is a great day for all Lightning fans."

Selected first overall in the 1998 NHL draft, Lecavalier has played in three all-star games.

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