Penguins sign Crosby to 5-year extension
By Rob Rossi
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007
There is no way of telling just how much money the Penguins saved by signing captain Sidney Crosby to a five-year, $43.5 million extension Tuesday.
It does not matter.
The Crosby contract, which will go into effect after his entry-level deal expires following this season, was all about providing the Penguins with long-term salary-cap flexibility to surround him with talented teammates.
Along those lines, general manager Ray Shero might have been the big winner yesterday.
"Ray knows what he is doing. He's a bright guy. A lot of teams are trying to lock up their franchise guys because nobody wants to be in a position that Buffalo was in where you lose core players," said Scott Morrison, an analyst for "Hockey Night in Canada."
"GMs are being more proactive in the new NHL, and Ray has been very proactive with this contract. He has taken care of Sidney and provided the team with room to build around Sidney for the long haul.
"Of course, when you know that you have the real deal, there is no long-term risk."
Crosby, 19, seemingly is a sure bet to be worth every penny.
This past season, his second in the league, he paced the NHL with 120 points and earned MVP accolades from his peers and the hockey media in the form of the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award, respectively.
On the extension, he will receive a $5 million signing bonus and be paid $4,000,000 in 2008-09. He will then earn $9 million annually each of the following three seasons and $7.5 million in the final year (2012-13). In the final year of his entry-level deal, Crosby will earn $850,000 plus incentives.
Those numbers matter more to Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, than they do the Penguins, who were more concerned with what the extension will cost against the salary cap -- $8.7 million annually.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Crosby could have held up the Penguins for an annual payment of $10.06 million, or 20 percent of this season's $50,300,000 salary cap.
Prior to negotiations, he promised the team he would not get greedy, and he lived up to those words.
"It was important to do what was right for everybody. I just tried to find that balance," said Crosby, insisting that he never felt pressure from the players' association to push for the maximum individual salary.
"We have a unique situation with our team. Ray has the tough job to get everybody together and stay here, but we all want to be in Pittsburgh and hopefully this is a step in the right direction."
Increased revenues due to a surge in league-wide attendance over the previous two post-lockout seasons resulted in a 22.5 percent salary-cap increase since 2005-06, Crosby's rookie season.
Even if the salary cap increases by only five percent for each of the next six seasons, Crosby's extension would save the Penguins $4,139,392 in cap room entering the deal's final term, which would have been Crosby's first year of unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
Just last week the Toronto Maple Leafs landed a 40-goal scorer (Jason Blake) for a $4 million annual cap average on the free-agent market.
"I do not have the crystal ball, but certainly by Sidney doing this the idea is to maintain the flexibility to (consistently contend for a Cup)," Shero said. "(Crosby's extension) certainly does leave that much more room for us to do some other things."
- Pens will unveil even bigger TV screen for fans in Game 5
- Neal, Iginla get back on track to lead Penguins
- Senators on cusp of ouster against Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Morrow sits; Bylsma changes lineup
- Senators notebook: Stone gets call in place of Conacher
- Penguins Insider: Time is right for Jokinen’s return
- Penguins turn Game 4 into a blowout victory over the Senators
- Gulf Tower ‘turns’ red over Pens goals
- Rossi: Late-game moves pay off
- Kovacevic: It doesn’t have to be this hard
- Penguins notebook: Morrow leaves practice with injury
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.