Penguins expected to announce $104.4 million contract extension for Crosby

With another year still left on his contract, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t taking any chances that their superstar captain may entertain offers of jumping ship.

Reports surfaced today that the Penguins intend to announce on Sunday that captain Sidney Crosby has agreed to a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension with an average annual salary of roughly $9 million.

While details of the deal are still under wraps, the contract extension could make Crosby one of the highest paid players in the league. That honor will go to Brad Richards of the New York Rangers and Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres next season as each are slated to make $12 million.

The deal comes on the heels of two injury plagued seasons where Crosby played a combined 63 games over a two-year span thanks to concussions. However, Crosby played in the final 14 games of the 2011-12 regular season for the Penguins and also played in an additional six playoff games before the team was ousted in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 22 games this past season, Crosby accumulated eight goals and 29 assists, and led the league in points-per-game with an average of 1.68. At that rate, Crosby could have tallied 100 points in only 60 games.

Still, a long-term, high-salary deal remains a questionable decision for the Penguins given the recent history with Crosby’s health. Crosby has never played a full 82-game season, twice playing in 81 games during his seven-year NHL career. With a year still remaining on his current contract, the Penguins could have waited to see how Crosby responded next season after two injury-shortened seasons with concussion issues before committing to a long-term contract.

At 24-years-old, Crosby has already won basically every major piece of hardware that a hockey player can win, including the Stanley Cup in 2009, a gold medal at the Winter Olympics with Team Canada in 2010, the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy and the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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