Jul 18, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
The Colorado Avalanche made a big splash on Thursday, signing Matt Duchene to a five-year contract extension.
According to Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press, the deal is worth $30 million overall, good for an average annual cap hit of $6 million.
“Matt already is and will be a big part of our team’s nucleus for the long term,” Avs vice president Joe Sakic said in a statement. “We all felt that it was important for us to secure his rights for several seasons.
“With his great skills, speed and character, he represents the identity we want the Avalanche to be.”
Duchene, 22, has been arguably the face of the franchise since debuting as an 18-year-old in 2009-10.
As the Avs noted in their press release, he already ranks 30th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 193 points in 266 career games.
Last year, Duchene tied for the Avalanche scoring lead with 43 points, leading the club with 26 assists.
This new extension is likely a reward for the deal Duchene signed last June.
Eyebrows were raised when he inked a modest two-year, $7 million deal, but it now appears both club and player were on the same page, looking to ink a more lucrative extension down the road.
“In 2009, I was thrilled to have been selected by the Avalanche, my favorite team,” Duchene told the Avs website. “I have worn this uniform with pride in my first four professional seasons in Denver, and I appreciate the organization believing in me for the long-term future.”
With the signing, Duchene will become the club’s second-highest paid player — only Paul Stastny has a higher ($6.6 million) cap hit.
He’ll also be making slightly more than fellow 2009 draftee John Tavares (Tavares went first overall, Duchene third), as Tavares pulls an annual cap hit of $5.5 million on his six-year, $33 million deal.
Finally — it’ll be interesting to see how the Duchene deal affects Colorado’s future negotiations. Two big contracts are on the horizon, as both Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog are set to become RFAs in 2014-15.
O’Reilly made $10 million over two years on his last deal (thanks to Calgary’s offer sheet, which Colorado matched). Landeskog will be in the final year of his entry-level deal.
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