- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Boston Bruins completed what will likely be their last piece of offseason business Friday, announcing an eight-year, $52 million extension for 27-year-old center Patrice Bergeron. The deal will keep Bergeron in black and gold through the 2021-22 season.
“I’ve been a Bruin since the start of my career and they’re a team that believed in me as an 18-year-old coming in, and I’m really happy now to say I will hopefully retire a Bruin. That’s the goal and that’s what I want,” said Bergeron, who will be 37 when the new deal expires.
The 2021-22 season would be his 18th with the Bruins.
“We’re obviously very happy to get him signed,” general manager Peters Chiarelli said Friday. “You never know now, but to finish his career with the Bruins we’re obviously really like him as a player. He embodies a lot of what the Bruins stand for. He’s a responsible player. He’s a hard player. He’s a leader. He’s a clutch player and he has a classic way of carrying himself.”
Bergeron, who will get married in just over a week, will make $5 million next season in the final year of his previous deal before the new contract begins in 2014. Starting in 2014-15, the assistant captain will carry a $6.5 million annual salary-cap hit.
Chiarelli has been proactive in trying to lock up young, core players in recent years. He signed goalie Tuukka Rask to an 8-year deal earlier in the week and in recent seasons gave defenseman Zdeno Chara and forwards Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and David Krejci long-term deals.
“I call them ‘pillars of the team,’” Chiarelli explained. “You have the ability to extend multi-year deals going into the last year, so we took advantage of that timing. He’s a leader. He stands what we stand for and he’s proud to wear a Bruins logo. He sets a great example.”
8dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald