Pittsburgh Penguins act fast, give a six-year contract extension to Bryan Rust week after elimination

Veteran forward Bryan Rust has agreed to a six-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they retain one of their key pending free agents.

Rust's new deal is worth $30.75 million, running through 2027-28. It has an average annual value of $5.125 million. Rust, 30, had just completed a four-year deal with an AAV of $3.5 million.

"Bryan exemplifies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin," Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. "Since being drafted by Pittsburgh, he has developed into a versatile player and leader on our team, capable of contributing in any situation. His leadership qualities and experience as a two-time Stanley Cup champion is an important piece of our team."

Rust, who is one of captain Sidney Crosby's primary linemates, won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He just completed his eighth season with the team, setting a new career high with 58 points in 60 games, including 24 goals. He had eight points in seven playoff games during the Penguins' first-round loss to the New York Rangers.

"I think our mindset was getting something done in Pittsburgh and if there was a little bit of it discount taken, I guess there could have been," Rust said Sunday. "But we're happy here. This is a number that we're really happy with."

Rust was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (80th overall) in the 2010 NHL draft.

The Penguins have reached the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in North American professional sports. Rust has been a fixture during the second half of that run and is now focused on remaining one in Pittsburgh for perhaps the entirety of his career.

"I think the opportunity to have that happen, it's cool," Rust said. "I think a lot of pride comes with being able to say you played with one organization for most, if not all, of your career. And I think that definitely played into a little bit of a factor when making this decision."

The forward was one of three critical free-agent decisions that loomed for Pittsburgh this offseason. Defenseman Kris Letang and center Evgeni Malkin are also unrestricted free agents.

Rust is totally fine if the team uses the money it saved on his contract toward keeping Malkin and Letang or bringing in other players who want to team with Crosby, who said last week he plans on playing at least three more seasons.

"I think if that helps sign some other guys that would like to be here and would like a chance to win with this team, I think that's awesome," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.