BUFFALO - Winger James Neal has agreed to a six-year, $30 million contract extension with the Penguins.
It will take effect next season and includes a $5 million annual salary and a modified no-trade clause that kicks in for the final three seasons.
That clause, when it takes effect, is believed to allow Neal to select eight teams to which he cannot be traded.
Neal, who enters the Penguins' game at Buffalo this afternoon with a career-high 30 goals, made it clear he did not care to play elsewhere.
He could have been a restricted free agent July 1, meaning that the Penguins could have matched any offer he got elsewhere or been entitled to compensation if they chose to not match. But, Neal said he had no qualms about signing early.
"I'm just so comfortable in Pittsburgh," he said. "With the commitment the organization is going to give me, it couldn't be a better feeling. I couldn't find a better spot. Pittsburgh is where I wanted to be. I love everything about what goes on here and how we play the game. I have some great teammates...I just couldn't see myself anywhere else, and hopefully the success continues."
For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @molinaripg. First Published February 19, 2012 3:15 PM