(Reuters) - Russian forward Evgeni Malkin has agreed an eight-year $76 million contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the National Hockey League team announced on Thursday.
The league’s reigning most valuable player, Malkin has a year left on his current contract but his new deal, which begins in the 2014-15 season will run through until 2022 and has an average annual value of $9.5 million.
“He’s a caring player, a hard-working player,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero told reporters. “I believe his best days are ahead of him.”
Malkin, the second overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft behind Alex Ovechkin,has been named to four NHL All-Star games and has twice been the winner of the Art Ross Trophy for the league’s top points scorer.
Over seven seasons 26-year-old forward has averaged more than a point a game and scored 217 goals, including a career high 50 during the 2011-12 campaign.
“I’m so happy,” Malkin said on a conference call. We’re still young,” Malkin said. “We are a group who wins Stanley Cup before and I believe we will win again.”
Last year the Penguins locked up their other superstar and former-MVP, Sidney Crosby to 12-year contract extension keeping the dynamic core of their team in place well into the next decade.
The move is the second major deal completed by the Penguins who on Wednesday inked a two year extension with head coach Dan Bylsma.
The Penguins were swept 4-0 by the Boston Bruins in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Reporting By Simon Evans, editing by Steve Keating