Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Canucks’ Luongo signs 12-year, US$64m contract

AP , VANCOUVER, CANADA

Team White goalie Roberto Luongo makes a save against Team Red’s Jordan Staal at Team Canada’s Olympic hockey training camp in Calgary last Thursday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Goaltender Roberto Luongo chose to finish his career in Vancouver because he believes the Canucks can win a Stanley Cup. The 12-year, US$64 million contract extension he signed on Wednesday may help.

Luongo’s new contract comes with an annual salary cap hit of just US$5.33 million, which is down from the US$6.75 million average of his current four-year, US$27 million deal that expires at the end of the upcoming NHL season.

“I want to win the Stanley Cup,” Luongo said on a conference call. “That’s why I play. We had to do something that made sense for both me and the team, and I think that’s what we accomplished by doing a deal where the money is a bit more front-loaded.”

Luongo’s deal includes a no-trade clause, keeping the 30-year-old Canucks captain in Vancouver until the 2021-2022 season.

The new deal pays Luongo US$10 million in 2010-2011, but just US$1 million in each of the final two seasons to give the Canucks more flexibility under the NHL salary cap.

“For me it was more about my love for the game,” Luongo said. “I just want to play as long as I can. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.”

Luongo also plans to play for Canada at next year’s Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Last year, Luongo became the first NHL goalie in 60 years to be selected as team captain.

He was fourth in Vezina Trophy voting as the league’s top goalie.

He is 230-33-265 with a 2.57 goals-against average in 544 career NHL games. He led the Canucks to the second round of the playoffs in 2007 and 2009.

■JASON SMITH RETIRES

AP, OTTAWA

Ottawa Senators defenseman Jason Smith retired on Wednesday after playing in more than 1,000 NHL games.

The 35-year-old Smith scored only 41 goals during his career, but made his presence felt in other ways.

“Whether we ever got anything out of him offensively or not didn’t matter,” Senators general manager Brian Murray said at a news conference. “What I liked about Jason was his leadership and the grit he provided around the net.”

In 1,008 career games since 1993 with New Jersey, Toronto, Edmonton, Philadelphia and Ottawa, Smith had 169 points with 1,099 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 68 playoff games, recording 11 points.

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