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Stars lock up Turco with four-year extension

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have made sure goalie Marty Turco isn't going anywhere.

Turco, a two-time All-Star, signed a four-year, $22.8 million contract extension with the Stars on Thursday that will keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

The deal keeps Turco, 30, in Dallas through 2009-10. He becomes another core player the Stars will keep at least through next season, including forward Mike Modano, who was re-signed to a five-year deal this summer.

"My belief is that I had to put my stake in the ground and build the team around one player," Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said. "It's not that one player can win or lose for us, but you have to put a statement, and in my mind a statement player."

Three years ago, Turco set a modern NHL record with a 1.72 goals-against average, beating the former record of 1.77.

Turco is 20-11-2 with a 2.44 GAA this season. He is tied for second in the NHL for wins, and his three shutouts are tied for second most. He will play for Canada in the Olympics next month.

"When it comes down to it, the opportunity to win here is at its highest level," Turco said. "That's what I was looking for."

Turco will make about $3.2 million this season, the last of the three-year contract he signed in September 2003 after holding out the first week of training camp. That came only months after his record-setting season, his first as the starter.

Because of the NHL's lost 2004-05 season and the salary rollback when players returned to the ice this season, Turco will only make about $6.9 million of the $12 million he was scheduled to make when he signed the deal.

Armstrong said contract talks began getting serious about three weeks ago, adding that he didn't want to have to get in a "bidding war" later.

Turco was an All-Star the last two seasons (2003, 2004). He has appeared in 218 NHL games with a 116-59-26 record, 1.99 GAA and .919 save percentage.

Rather than test free agency after the season, Turco said he signed the extension now because his family likes Dallas and he was confident in the Stars' commitment to keeping good players around him.

"The only regret I'll have is if we don't win," Turco said. "But we're not going to have that problem."