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Free agency begins July 1, but it seems teams want to get started early on signing their top players to long- term contracts. Thursday was a busy day for two teams as they locked up their star players for a long period of time.

Penguins Sign Crosby to 12-year Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed restricted free agent and their captain Sidney Crosby to a sign a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension on Sunday that begins after next season. Sidney Crosby cannot officially sign the deal until Sunday, when he becomes at resticted free agent, but the Penguins ensured they will have the best player in the league for many more years to come.

Crosby, 24, has won already won the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross, Rocket Richard Trophy, the Stanley Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal all before the age of 25. However, Crosby missed the second half of the 2010-11 season and most the 2011-2012 season with a concussion and neck injury.

The big question for the Penguins and the rest of the NHL is can he stay healthy. Crosby was originally hurt in January of 2011 missing the remainder of that season before returning last November. He only played in eight games before the symptoms came back and forced him out of action until March 15.

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During the 22 regular season games Crosby played he tallied eight goals and 29 assists for 37 points. He added three goals and five assists in six playoff games as the Penguins were ousted by the Flyers in the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Quick Signs at 10-year Deal with Kings

Another big signing yesterday was when the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings a agreed to a 10-year $58 million contract extension with franchise goalie Jonathan Quick.

Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy while leading the Kings to its first Stanley Cup championship ealier in the month and ,he was hansomley rewarded. He still had a year left on his contract, but just like the Penguins, the Kings did not want one of their franchise players testing free agency.

Quick hadir a breakout season as he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy while starting to establish himself as one of the best goalies in the league. He was one of the NHL leaders in most of the goaltending categoires as he made the NHL All Star team for the first time. He set a Kings record for shutouts (10), save percentage (.929) and goals-against a verage (1.95). He played a record 72 games, and he won 39 of them for the Kings.

He was the reason the Kings made the playoffs and ultimately won the Stanley Cup. The Kings were the second lowest scoring team in the NHL this season, but with the help of Quick had a remarkable run in the playoffs.

His numbers only got better in the post season as he only gave up 29 goals in the 20 games to finish with a 1.41 goals against average and .946 save percentange with three shutouts.

The Kings now have locked up most of the core players that contributed to the championship team this season. Leading scorer Anze Kopitar is under contract for four more seasons and captain Dustin Brown has two more seasons left on his deal. Drew Doughty, Mike Richards, and Jeff Carter are signed throughout the next decade.

The Kings are pretty much set for their roster and have a good chance to repeat with the young talent on their team.

Brodeur to join Parise on Free Agent Market

The big free agency news that was reported by Darren Dregger of TSN, is that Martin Brodeur has hired Sidney Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson to represent him and might be ready to test the water on July 1 and see what his value really is.

The 40-year net minder is a three-time Stanley Cup winner helping lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final where they were defeated in six games by the Los Angeles Kings. He was considering retiring, but after the Devils run this season and how well he played in the playoffs, he decided to come back one or two more seasons.

Courtesy of TSN:

The 40-year-old net minder has had limited conversation with the Devils on a new deal and though he could still re-sign with the only NHL team he’s played for, his new agent says he will entertain offers from other teams if an agreement is not reached at the beginning of the free agent period. “He will be testing free agency if a deal is not in place by Sunday,” Brisson told TSN on Friday.

If the Devils were two lose both of these players it would be a crushing blow to a franchise that has been a model of consistency for the past decade.