The Carolina Hurricanes have agreed to terms with forward Andrei Svechnikov on an eight-year, $62 million contract, which is set to keep the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2018 with the franchise through the 2028-29 season.
The team said Thursday the deal will pay the 21-year-old Svechnikov an average annual value of $7.75 million per season.
"It's actually an easy decision for me," Svechnikov said Thursday. "Eight years to play in Carolina, and I want to be a Hurricane."
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Svechnikov has been a fixture and physical presence on Carolina's top line alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. He's played all three of his NHL seasons under Rod Brind'Amour, a former team captain who last season won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.
Svechnikov was a restricted free agent and the team had long been in extension talks with him, though president and general manager Don Waddell had floated the possibility of a shorter-term "bridge" type deal to ensure getting something done if a long-term deal couldn't be reached.
Waddell said Thursday the two sides eventually shelved talks until after the season, then resumed with the shared goal of reaching the long-term deal.
"Anytime you're dealing with a contract, the sooner you get it done, I think it's better for everybody," Waddell said, noting the team was scheduled to start preseason camp Sept. 22.
"I didn't want to have this drag into training camp and neither did Andrei, so we we worked pretty hard on it, especially the last week to really close it up and get this deal done."
Svechnikov has been a major piece of Carolina's revival after a nine-year playoff drought in 2019. the team went to the Eastern Conference finals that year in his rookie season, and has won at least one postseason series in each of the past two years.
He had 15 goals and 27 assists in 55 regular-season games last season as the Hurricanes won a division championship for the first time in 15 years. Svechnikov also had two goals and six assists in 11 playoff games, with Carolina beating Nashville in the first round before losing to eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.
The previous year, Svechnikov posted the first postseason hat trick in franchise history against the New York Rangers in a Stanley Cup qualifier series in the Toronto bubble following the NHL's restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
And he had shown flair with his lacrosse-style goals, when he scoops up the puck with his stick from behind the net and jams it into the net behind the goalie.
"Just watching Andrei in and around the rink every day, he's a player that puts his time in," Waddell said. "I've walked down there an hour, two hours after practice and he's back there shooting practice. You know he's all-in. ... He's shown a lot through his career."