The Stanley Cup finalists were busy yesterday working to make sure they'll be in the running next season, too.
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed star forward Evgeni Malkin to a five-year contract extension worth $43.5 million, just a few hours after the team lost high-scoring forward Marian Hossa to the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
Malkin's deal will keep him under contract until the 2013-14 season. The 21-year-old forward still has one year left on his initial three-year, entry level contract. His deal is equal to one signed by teammate Sidney Crosby that begins with the upcoming season. Malkin, who had 47 goals and 106 points last season, could've become a free agent after next season.
According to TSN, the Penguins also reached a six-year, $22.5 million deal with defenseman Brooks Orpik
Hossa chose to join the Red Wings at a discount, signing a one-year contract reportedly worth $7.45 million.
Stars sign Avery
The Dallas Stars signed noted pest Sean Avery
to a four-year, $15.5 million deal. The 28-year-old forward is a former league leader in penalty minutes, but his style is effective. In 86 games with the New York Rangers over the last two seasons, the club was 50-20-16 with him in the lineup and 9-13-3 without him . . . The Blue Jackets traded enigmatic offensive star Nikolai Zherdev
and center Dan Fritsche
to the Rangers for defensemen Christian Backman
and Fedor Tyutin
. Zherdev, 23, had a career-high 61 points last season with 26 goals and 35 assists, but has also been criticized for selfish play. The Rangers also announced the signing of Belmont native and former Holy Cross forward Patrick Rissmiller
. And the Blue Jackets quickly replaced some of Zherdev's offense, signing Kristian Huselius
to a four-year, $19-million contract. Huselius had 66 points, including 25 goals, for Calgary last season.
Waiting game for SundinMats Sundin
needs more time to decide where he wants to play next season, or if he wants to get back on the ice at all. Sundin, one of the top free agent forwards still available, said he isn't ready to pick a team after receiving lucrative offers from four clubs, including one from the Vancouver Canucks for $20 million over two seasons . . . The Colorado Avalanche re-signed restricted free agent forward Wojtek Wolski
to a two-year contract. Wolski, 22, had 48 points, including 18 goals, last season . . . The Atlanta Thrashers signed free agent defenseman Ron Hainsey
to a five-year, $22.5 million deal. Hainsey, 27, played the last three seasons with Columbus . . . The Carolina Hurricanes signed former Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar
, who spent last season with Linkoping of the Swedish Elite League, to a one-year, $1 million contract.
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