If there is one thing Pittsburgh fans always want more of, it is more Sidney Crosby. How does 12 more years of Sidney Crosby sound?
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero and Crosby and his agent Pat Brisson came to terms today to extend Crosby’s current contract until 2025. This contract will become official on Sunday, July 1st at the start of free agency. Crosby legally cannot sign the contract until then, but the Penguins made an official announcement today that terms had been met and that Crosby is prepared to sign. At $104.4 million over 12 years, Crosby has made a major sacrifice to guarantee his fate as a franchise player. (You can read the transcript of the conference call held by Shero and Brisson here.)
Forever the superstitious player, this comes out to $8.7 million per season, and extreme under payment for a once in a generation player. Crosby could go anywhere and make $10 million or more per season, but he chose to do something that we have heart players say before and then take back: he went where his heart is.
Brisson had this to say of Crosby’s desire to remain a Penguin:
“…he’s emotionally extremely attached to the fans and the city of Pittsburgh and the organization.When you are negotiating a contract of this magnitude, as a player, it’s important to understand what you want and where you want to be first. First and foremost, Sidney understood that from Day 1. Regardless of what he’s been through, the good and the bad and all that, in the vacuum he was able to realize where he wanted to be – and he wanted to be in Pittsburgh. So this contract means a lot to him.”
The announcement came at the right time for free agents league wide who are considering making Pittsburgh their new home if the price is right. Crosby’s contract would have expired next season. Had he not re-signed now, there would have been a great deal of uncertainty around what the Pens could pay a star player like Zach Parise or Ryan Suter. This basically a message out there that says, “Hey, guys. We have some money available. Oh and you get to play with Sidney Crosby for the duration of his career if you care to stick around.”
Additionally, Shero is quite intent to negotiate a similar deal with Evgeni Malkin next summer. Malkin’s contract is not up for another two years, but they will look to re-sign next summer and keep Geno in Pittsburgh for as long as possible. With Crosby taking such a deal, one will hope that depending on the cap circumstances that Geno’s love of Pittsburgh will trump lust for a lucrative contract.
Over the next few days, the Devils will certainly try to come to terms with Parise, hoping mostly that the allure of having just visited the Stanley Cup Finals and his role as Captain will be enough to keep him around on top of money, however, given that he took last year to arbitration and agreed to only a one-year contract, I think we realistically know that a guy like Parise is looking to play with a more talented team. Being friends with Crosby will certainly help Pittsburgh as far as attractiveness, though if Minnesota throws a large contract offer at him, he may elect to go to his home state.
The next few days will be interesting. More and more, contracts are being announced by teams. Tukka Rask signed a one year deal with Boston and will likely be their starting goalie in Tim Thomas’s absence. Jonathan Quick signed for 10 years with the Kings and former Penguin Hal Gill (whom was traded to the Predators this season from the Canadiens) will spend an additional two years in Nashville.
Congratulations to Crosby on his new contract and we are all happy that you are making Pittsburgh your home.