Senators ink Spezza with 7-year, $49 million contract
OTTAWA -- Senators center Jason Spezza agreed to a $49 million, seven-year contract extension Friday that allowed Ottawa to lock up the final member of its potent first line.
The 24-year-old would have been a restricted free agent after this season but now will be with the team through 2014-15. He joins Daniel Alfredsson, who is signed through 2011-12, and Dany Heatley, who agreed to a $45 million, six-year extension through 2013-14 last month, as franchise cornerstones.
"Jason Spezza is a great example of what the future holds for the Ottawa Senators and our fans," owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement. "Without question, Jason belongs here in Ottawa and he continues to be an integral part of our organization's long-term plans."
Spezza's contract is split between $33 million in salary and $16 million in signing bonuses paid out over the first five years of the deal. In total, Spezza will earn $8 million in each of the first five seasons of the agreement, $5 million in 2013-14 and $4 million in 2014-15.
His average annual salary of $7 million will count against the salary cap. Spezza is earning $5 million this season.
"This is a good situation for Jason," his agent, Rick Curran, said Friday. "This is where he wants to be and that's always the best deal for a player."
Spezza has a goal and 12 assists in 10 games this season, helping Ottawa to a 10-1-0 start. He sat out Thursday night's 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers with a groin injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press