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Friday, January 27, 2006
Brodeur agrees to contract extension with Devils

Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur signed a six-year contract extension on Friday that will pay him $31.2 million.

New Jersey Devils

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"I'm real happy, very excited," Brodeur said. "It's a great opportunity for me to end my career here and stay close to my kids. That was my huge concern going forward with the new league."

Brodeur is earning $5.237 million this season, his 13th with the Devils -- the team that selected him with the 20th pick in the 1990 NHL draft.

This deal, reached hours before he and the Devils lost 4-0 to the Florida Panthers, will give Brodeur the chance to play his entire career with one club.

"I think it's going to get harder and hard to do," Brodeur said. "I was in the position to be able to do it. I don't think too many guys are going to be able to do that with the different way the system works now."

Brodeur will be 40 when this contract runs out after the 2011-12 season. He will be paid $5.2 million for each of the next six years.

"It's great for the organization, and certainly we all know what he's done," Devils general manager and interim coach Lou Lamoriello said. "Both parties are extremely pleased. He accomplished what he would like to accomplish and I believe we accomplished what we'd like to accomplish. It's as simple as that."

Brodeur, Canada's No. 1 netminder at the upcoming Torino Olympics, won the Vezina Trophy each of the past two seasons as the NHL's top goalie. He has played in eight All-Star games and won three Stanley Cup titles with New Jersey.

"He's been here since he's been 18. He says it all," Lamoriello said about Brodeur's desire to stay with the Devils.

Brodeur's deal will pay him below market value. An option year for next season, in which Brodeur would've earned $6.08 million, was tossed in favor of the extension.

"We looked at different possibilities that could help the organization by structuring the contract different ways," Brodeur said. "When you are able to put your salary over a lot of years instead of just taking the bulk in your prime years, it clears up a lot of that money [under the cap]. When you're able to do that, it just helps your organization to do certain moves.

"If it were a shorter-term contract, it would have been a lot different numbers."

Brodeur doesn't have an agent, and he and Lamoriello worked out the deal together.

"We talked about a lot of things over a period of time," Lamoriello said. "It was just he and I."

Dallas' Marty Turco, one of Brodeur's Olympic backups, signed a four-year contract worth $22.8-million in January.

Nikolai Khabibulin of the Chicago Blackhawks is the NHL's highest-paid goalie. He left the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning for a four-year deal worth $27 million -- an average of $6.75 million a season.

Brodeur has 427 career victories in 784 NHL games with a 2.19 career goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

He might even stick with the Devils once his playing days are done.

"That's something that we believe in our organization," Lamoriello said. "We want every player who ends up with us to be part of us, no matter who it is."