The Pittsburgh Penguins and superstar captain Sidney Crosby agreed to a 12-year, $104.4 million contract on Thursday, though the 24-year-old will not be able to make it official until Sunday.
It’s certainly a bold move for the Penguins due to Crosby’s recent injuries that left him sidelined for most of the past two seasons with concussion-like symptoms. If those symptoms occur again and get worse, Pittsburgh could be on the hook for a lot of green, as Crosby will make $8.7 million per year. But there are always plenty of 'what-if’s' in sports.
Crosby’s previous deal was set to expire next summer but the Penguins didn’t want to hesitate on a new deal, especially after freeing up some money with the trade of Jordan Staal last weekend at the draft.
“We are grateful for all that Sidney Crosby has done for our franchise since coming to Pittsburgh in 2005, both on and off the ice, and we look forward to having him in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his career,” owner Mario Lemieux said in a released statement.
Crosby made it clear during the playoffs that he hoped to remain with the Penguins, the team that drafted him first overall in the 2005 draft in the hopes of him becoming the next Wayne Gretzky. Crosby has played in just 28 games since earning the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Stanley Cup in 2009, thanks to a vicous hit in the Winter Classic in January, 2011 that left him with a concussion.
Evgeni Malkin was huge during Crosby’s absence, winning the MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer this past season, but there’s no doubt Sid the Kid is still the best player in the world. In his seven seasons in the NHL, Crosby has 223 goals and 386 points, which is impressive considering he has only played in 434 games.
The move allows the Penguins to focus on the upcoming start of free agency on July 1, but 12 years might be a little too long. A lot can happen in that time and health still remains a bit of an issue with Crosby. We understand the fact that the Penguins don’t want to lose him and want him to remain in Pittsburgh for his whole career, but maybe a smaller, seven or eight-year contract would have been a good start.
We’ve seen it before with Philadelphia’s Keith Primeau and we’re seeing it now with Boston’s Marc Savard, both of whom earned healthy paychecks before injuries shortened their careers.
Let’s hope we don’t see it again because Crosby is the face of the league, the best player of the past decade and fun to watch – though his opponents might not agree.
Photo Credit: AP