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D Letang, Penguins agree on 8-year extension, as Pittsburgh keeps another star happy long term

The Pittsburgh Penguins locked up another elite young player long term, announcing Tuesday they had agreed to terms with defenseman Kris Letang.

A finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman, Letang received an eight-year, $58 million contract extension. He would have entered the final season of an existing contract that carried an annual salary-cap hit of $3.5 million. That will now jump to $7.25 beginning in 2014-15, before which Letang was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Letang, 26, tied for the scoring lead among NHL defensemen last season with 38 points in 35 games. He has 44 goals and 165 assists in 385 career games over six-plus seasons.

Letang joins star centers Sidney Crosby (12 years, $104.4 million) and Evgeni Malkin (eight years, $76 million) as players the Penguins have given long-term contracts to in the past 13 months.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, Letang cannot sign till Friday.