Chris Kunitz re-signs with Penguins; two more years at $3.725 million per year

Chris Kunitz has agreed to a two year contract extension that will kick in next season and keep him with the Penguins through 2013-14.  The deal will pay Kunitz $3.725 million, the exact salary he has been making on his current contract.  From the team:

The deal begins with 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign, and has an average annual value of $3.725 million.

Kunitz, 32, has played in all four games this season for Pittsburgh, tallying one assist. Last year he had one of his best NHL seasons, ranking second on the team with 23 goals – the 2nd-highest total of his career – and adding 25 assists for 48 points in 66 games.

The 6-foot, 193-pound forward has spent the past three-plus seasons with Pittsburgh, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2009. Kunitz has appeared in 140 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, totaling 99 points (43G-56A), a plus-25 rating, 12 power-play goals and two shorthanded tallies. He has 26 points (6G-20A) in 43 postseason contests.

A native of Regina, SK, Kunitz was acquired from Anaheim on Feb. 26, 2009 with Eric Tangradi in exchange for Ryan Whitney. Kunitz finished that season with 18 points (7G-11A) in 20 regular-season games, then added 14 points (1G-13A) in 24 postseason games as the Penguins won the franchise’s third Stanley Cup.

Prior to joining the Penguins, Kunitz played parts of five seasons with Anaheim, where he twice surpassed the 20-goal and 50-point plateau. His best season with the Ducks came in 2006-07 when he established career highs offensively in goals (25), assists (35) and points (60), as Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.

Just on Friday the Trib has a story featuring Kunitz and his desire to remain a Penguin, which looks timely right now.

This deal fits the Ray Shero profile- Kunitz just turned 32 years old a couple weeks ago, so the team wasn't looking to give him a guaranteed longer term contract.  But at the same time Kunitz has been a solid contributing member of the lineup when he's been healthy and definitely a piece of the puzzle to keep in place.

At the same price, given how the salary cap has continued to increase, the price also makes sense for both parties.  Kunitz gets what could be his last major money contract and three years worth of financial security (given that the two year extension kicks in once this year finishes out).  The team gets a solid player and leader tied down for an amount of time that makes sense, for a dollar amount they are used to.

Win/win, so congratulations to all parties.

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