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Dumoulin thrilled to get long-term deal

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Brian Dumoulin was in Toronto, prepared to attend his arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday morning. Fortunately, he didn't have to go.

That's because he and the Penguins agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension that has an average annual value of $4.1 million.

"I'm excited," Dumoulin said over the phone on Monday afternoon. "It's been in the works for a long time, and for it to be done now and not have to worry about it and focus on just playing the game and playing hockey, it's exciting. It's something that I wanted, which was a long-term deal with Pittsburgh. I couldn't be happier and more excited."

Dumoulin said that while the process was a lengthy one and it did go down to the wire, he pointed out they had a shorter summer than most to get the deal worked out. At the end of the day, there's nowhere else he'd rather be than Pittsburgh.

"It's been awesome," he said. "Whether it be how the organization treats us or the people that they bring into the organization, everything is top notch. And the fans in the community, it's amazing. I don't have to tell them or tell you how passionate they are about their sports.

"It seems like every time you drive around someone's either wearing a Penguins jersey, a Steelers jersey or a Pirates jersey. Everywhere you see is black and gold and it's cool to be a part of this city."

It can be easy to forget that Dumoulin didn't actually start his pro career here. The Boston College product was originally taken by Carolina in the second round (51st overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, and got traded to Pittsburgh in 2012 by then-Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford as part of the Jordan Staal-Brandon Sutter deal.

It's certainly worked out, as five years later, both Dumoulin and current Penguins GM Rutherford are two-time Stanley Cup champions here in Pittsburgh.

"It's funny just because Jim Rutherford was with me in Carolina and now we're both in Pittsburgh," Dumoulin said with a laugh. "It worked out, obviously, having us both here and being able to win two championships with this group. It's been special and I'm very thankful for that."

Dumoulin has been a huge part of both playoff runs, playing all 49 postseason games during that span and recording 14 points (3G-11A). In 2016, Dumoulin partnered up with Kris Letang on the top pairing for most of that spring. And in 2017, Dumoulin stepped up with Letang out after undergoing surgery for a herniated disc in his neck.

Dumoulin averaged 21:59 minutes, the most of any Penguins skater, and they weren't easy minutes - especially against some of Pittsburgh's physical opponents like Columbus and Washington.

The big, mobile, puck-moving defenseman quietly provided stability and consistency to a blue line that was not only missing Letang, but also dealt with injuries to Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley as well along with its fair share of adversity. Not to mention Dumoulin was playing with one of his own, a broken hand that has since healed.

That being said, another thing that can be easy to forget is just how young Dumoulin is. While he's grown so much as a player over these last couple of runs - especially this most recent one - at just 25 years old he knows he's got room to keep getting better.

"I think both years I've definitely improved," he said. "I still know that I can keep improving throughout these years and I still feel like there's a lot of good hockey in front of me. I'm excited to have that long-term deal and be able to get better and work with Pittsburgh to continue to try and improve my game."

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