Pens sign Crosby to five-year, $43.5M extension

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby has a new contract before his
20th birthday and his eye on the Stanley Cup for the
Pittsburgh Penguins.

The NHL MVP and scoring champion signed a five-year extension
through the 2012-13 season worth $43.5 million. The deal leaves
room for the team to re-sign other young stars, such as Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, in the coming seasons.

"It feels great, especially with the group of guys we have, to
know I'm going to be able to grow with these guys and spend a while
with them," Crosby said Tuesday. "To have that sense of security,
it definitely feels good."

The three-year contract Crosby signed as a rookie lasts through
the coming season, and the five-year extension keeps him under
contract for the next six seasons. Crosby may negotiate a new deal
shortly before he turns 26, when he should be in his prime, agent Pat Brisson said.

"The main goal here was that we had to establish that Sidney is
all about winning," Brisson said. "He wanted to obviously help
general manager Ray Shero put the right numbers together to help
the team. Building a winner is key to him."

Crosby, who turns 20 next month, won the Hart Trophy last month
to become the league's youngest MVP since Wayne Gretzky.

The Penguins made Crosby the youngest captain in league history
after last season, when he led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals,
84 assists). He helped the Penguins win 47 games after they won
only 22 the season before.

The Penguins' 47-point improvement was the fourth best in NHL
history. They were eliminated in five games by eventual Eastern
Conference champion Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs.

"Individual honors and scoring championships are great, but my
No. 1 goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Crosby said. "I'd love to
be a part of bringing the Cup back here to Pittsburgh."

Shero called Crosby a "tremendous asset to
the organization" and termed the negotiations "very amicable and

"We had common ground and a lot of that had to do with Sidney's
desire to stay in Pittsburgh," Shero said.

Crosby's deal includes a signing bonus of more than $5 million
and is front-loaded. That means he'll make more in the early years,
though a yearly breakdown was not immediately available.

Crosby's salary-cap value each year of the deal is $8.7 million.
The number has other significance: Crosby wears No. 87 and was born
Aug. 7, 1987.

"It seems like a pretty good number. I thought it was kind of
unique so I'm happy with that," said Crosby, who said he's
celebrating the deal by spending some time with his parents.

The deal also reflected Crosby's desire to have his young
teammates remain in town as well.

"I think it was important just to do what was right for
everyone," Crosby said. "We have a unique situation with our team
with so many great young players. I think we all want to be there
and hopefully it's a step in the right direction."

Under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, no player can
make more than 20 percent of a team's cap value, which is now $50.3
million. That means Crosby could have earned up to $10.06 million a

Since few, if any, players in the league could argue they're
worth more than Crosby, his $8.7 million average is likely to keep
the price of other NHL superstars well below the maximum.

"We could have done a long-term deal and all that, but it's
fair to Sidney and the team to do it this way and not take every
dime from the team, but also not to lock him into an eight- or
10-year deal," Brisson said.

Crosby is set to earn a base salary of $850,000 this season,
though he's expected to earn about four times that much with
performance bonuses.

The Penguins have concentrated on signing players to fill roles
Shero felt the team lacked in its brief playoff appearance -- the
team's first since 2001.

The biggest free-agent signings were $5 million, two-year deals
with two former Stanley Cup winners, goal-scoring right winger Petr Sykora and defenseman Darryl Sydor.

The Penguins also re-signed their best young defenseman, Ryan Whitney, to a $24 million, six-year contract; signed backup
goaltender Dany Sabourin; and re-signed steady defenseman Rob Scuderi.