Crosby to talk contract extension with Penguins beyond next season


CRANBERRY, Pa.Sidney Crosby said he will discuss a new contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the offseason. 
 
The 36-year-old center has one season remaining on a 12-year, $104.4 million contract ($8.7 million average annual value) he signed on July 1, 2012, and could become an unrestricted free agent after next season. 
 
“Obviously, I’m going to talk to [general manager Kyle Dubas] and have a conversation with him,” Crosby said Thursday. “We’ll see. I think it’s just something that I’ll have conversations with him about.” 
 
Crosby said he doesn’t know how many more seasons he would like to play. In his 19th, he led Pittsburgh with 94 points (42 goals, 52 assists) in 82 games, tying Wayne Gretzky (19) for the most seasons averaging a point per game in NHL history. 
 
“I don’t really think like that,” Crosby said. “I’ve always just gone year to year. That’s always kind of served me well, as far as how I evaluate my game and that sort of thing. There’s always a lot of factors. But I think that’s separate from talking contract. 
 
“Obviously, at my age, and things like that, there will be a lot of factors. But as far as my game, I don’t look any differently at how much longer I can play based off that. It’s always just evaluating my game for what it is, not my age.” 
 
That doesn’t mean Crosby will consider retirement on a year-to-year basis, he clarified. 
 
“I’m saying just, when you’re looking at year to year and evaluating your game, whether I was 26 and had a good year, it’s nice that I felt good and I was able to play all the games, things like that,” he said. “But as far as the outlook, I don’t think it changes how I approach that.” 
 
The Penguins (38-32-12) missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season and the third since selecting Crosby with the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, finishing three points behind the Washington Capitals for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

“It’s disappointing, especially with the way we finished the year. We were playing good hockey,” Crosby said. “You look, when you miss by a margin that we’ve had the last couple years, there’s so many games that you look at plays and things you want to redo. It’s a fine line. Unfortunately, we’ve been on the wrong side of that the last couple years.”

Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup champion (2009, 2016, 2017) has 1,596 points (592 goals, 1,004 assists) in 1,272 NHL games, the 10th most points all-time and second most in Penguins history behind Mario Lemieux (1,723 points; 690 goals, 1,033 assists).  
 
“The guy’s a machine. Spectacular player, spectacular person,” said Bryan Rust, normally first-line right wing with Crosby. “The guy puts in so much effort, both on and off the ice. And he cares so deeply about the success of this team, the success of this organization and the success of his teammates that you can obviously see why he’s been so good for so long. He can do the things he’s done his entire life.” 
 
Crosby has twice won the Hart Trophy, voted as NHL MVP (2007, 2014), the Art Ross Trophy as scoring leader (2007, 2014), the Rocket Richard Trophy as goals leader (2010, 2017) and the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs (2016, 2017). He has been awarded the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players’ Association, three times (2007, 2013, 2014).  

In his final 18 games this season, the Penguins captain had 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists).

“To continue to play at the elite level that he plays at, year in and year out, for the longevity that he’s been able to do it, is remarkable,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He just means so much to this team in so many ways, both on the ice through his performance, but also off the ice and his leadership, and the standard that he creates for the group. What he continues to do in this league is remarkable.”

Crosby, center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang each played a full 82 games for the first time in 18 seasons together. Malkin, 37, was second on the Penguins with 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists); Letang, 36, had 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists). 
 
Erik Karlsson, 33, also played 82 games in his first season with Pittsburgh after being acquired from the San Jose Sharks in a three-team trade on Aug. 6. He led Penguins defensemen with 56 points (11 goals, 45 assists). 
 
Karlsson said he still views the Penguins as his best chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time entering next season.  

“I think everybody’s already excited for that,” Karlsson said. “I know I am. It’s going to be nice to step away for a bit and reflect and try and figure out what you can do to move forward and be better as a player and be better as a team. One thing I know, and what I’ve learned over the first year here, is how dedicated this organization is to be at its best.”

Crosby will be there. He isn’t as sure about the distant future. 

“There’s no point worrying about four, five years from now,” Crosby said. “There’s so many factors when you get to this point. … I don’t really think that far ahead, to be honest with you. That’s just how I feel and how I approach it.”

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