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Leafs lock up Lupul with five-year, $26.25M extension

Jan 20, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

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New Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis made his first major move on Sunday, locking up Joffrey Lupul to a five-year extension.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the yearly cap hit will be $5.25 million, rounding out the deal to $26.25 million overall. It also includes a limited no-trade clause; the Leafs can request a list of 14 teams he’d accept being traded to, according to Dreger.

Getting some trade protection is probably more important to Lupul than many other players. He’s been involved in four swaps in his career, including two that involved Chris Pronger.

The Buds’ future remains fuzzy as Lupul joins Mikhail Grabovski and James Van Riemsdyk as the only prominent forwards signed beyond the 2013-14 season. The team still has a decision to make with top sniper Phil Kessel – his deal runs out in the summer of 2014 – but signing his running mate implies that the team might lean toward paying up.

Few were particularly excited when he landed in Toronto in February 2011 trade that involved Francois Beauchemin, yet Lupul’s been an asset for the Leafs. That was especially true last season as he scored 25 goals and 67 points despite being limited to just 66 games.

Management has apparently seen enough to make him a part of the long-term future. He’ll turn 30 in September, so this contract should cover the remainder of his prime.

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