BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins beat the lockout deadline and signed forward Milan Lucic to a three-year contract extension on Saturday that will pay him $6 million a year and make him the highest-paid forward on the team.
Lucic, a second-round choice in 2006, is a Vancouver native and was a key part of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup victory over the Canucks. He had five goals and seven assists in that championship run.
‘‘I have spent five great years here in Boston and I've really embraced the city and the Boston Bruins, and they have embraced me,’’ he said in a conference call. ‘‘I'm really excited for this and happy to be remaining a Bruin. There is no other team in the NHL I'd rather play for.’’
Last year, as Boston won the Northeast Division, Lucic had 26 goals and 61 points, and has 90 goals in five seasons with the Bruins.
The 24-year-old Lucic is another Bruin to receive a new deal with an NHL lockout looming. In less than two weeks, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli has also given new contracts to forwards Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.
‘‘We have been winning and we will continue to use this approach. A guy like Milan is a perfect example,’’ Chiarelli said. ‘‘He marks the end of three signings that we've done over the course of a couple of weeks,’’ Chiarelli said. ‘‘I am very happy to have completed them. I think it shows commitments from Milan and the other players and a commitment from our owners.’’
Lucic has noticed.
‘‘Him keeping all the core guys, all the guys I have built really good relationships with here, that’s obviously makes me want to stay more. He believes in all of us as players, and we believe in him and what he is trying to build here,’’ he said.
‘‘Peter definitely has done a good job of finding guys who are willing to sacrifice and be on the same page. That is why we’re a real competitive team. We achieved our ultimate goal in 2011 and we plan to do the same heading into the future.’’