Penguins sign defenceman Kris Letang to four-year contract extension

PITTSBURGH – Penguins defenceman Kris Letang has signed a US$14-million, four-year contract extension that runs through the 2013-14 season.

The deal, which averages $3.5 million per season, prevents him from becoming a restricted free agent.

Re-signing the 22-year-old Letang became a priority for Pittsburgh because defenceman Sergei Gonchar’s contract is running out after this season. Letang has three goals and 24 assists in 67 games this season.

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The Penguins have signed forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, and defencemen Brooks Orpik and Letang through 2013-14, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury through 2014-15.

Letang scored the winner in overtime against Washington in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, helping the Penguins win the series in seven games.