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Luongo sticking around

The Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup contenders, Roberto Luongo saidyesterday as he signed a contract extension that will stretch to theend of his hockey career.

The Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup contenders, Roberto Luongo said yesterday as he signed a contract extension that will stretch to the end of his hockey career.

The all-star goaltender and team captain agreed to a front-loaded 12-year contract extension worth $64 million. It takes him through the 2021-2022 season, when he’ll be 43.

“I thought we had a chance to win last year with the team we had,” said Luongo, 30, who is in the final year of his current four-year $27-million contract. “And at the end of the day that’s all you can ask for.”

According to media reports, the contract extension pays Luongo $10 million in the first year, fading to $1 million in years 11 and 12.

The salary cap hit will be about $5.3 million per year as the $64 million is spread over the 12 years of the contract.

General manager Mike Gillis said the length of the contract reflected how the team felt about Luongo’s lifestyle, dedication and ability to continue to play.

He said the league had two 40-year-old goalies this year and said players like Dominik Hasek and Johnny Bower continued to be dominant in their late 30s and early 40s.

“We’ve seen goalies play at a high level right into their 40s,” Gillis said. “We feel he is the most dominant player in his position right now and should be for a long time coming.”

Luongo said he hopes to still be starting when he nears the final years of his contract and didn’t know how he would handle being possibly relegated to a back-up role.

“I want to play as long as I can. I hope it will be right to the end, because that’s why I signed. ...

For me, it’s always been about starting. It’s tough to say how I might feel in 10 years.”

 
 
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