RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Jaccob Slavin have agreed to a seven-year contract extension.
General manager Ron Francis on Wednesday said the deal begins in 2018-19 and will carry an average annual value of $5.3 million through the 2024-25 season.
Francis says the 23-year-old Slavin is "one of the cornerstones of our team" and "one of the top young defensemen in the NHL today."
In his second season in the NHL in 2016-17, Slavin had 34 points, five goals, 29 assists. He also led the team with 161 blocked shots, 83 takeaways and an average time on ice of about 23 minutes.
Slavin, Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin are the team's key defensemen entering their third NHL season, and they along with All-Star Justin Faulk and trade acquisition Trevor van Riemsdyk will enter the season as the nucleus of the defense in front of new goalie Scott Darling.
The Hurricanes have not had a captain since Eric Staal was traded in 2016, going with a group of alternate captains last season. Slavin understands that his lengthy new contract comes with an expectation that he will help lead a young dressing room, whether or not he earns an "A" or a "C" on his jersey (see full recap).
Penguins: Crosby blocked out concussion debate
COLE HARBOR, Nova Scotia -- Sidney Crosby said Wednesday he did not pay attention to those questioning whether he should continue playing hockey after suffering another concussion during the playoffs.
Crosby was too focused on capturing another Stanley Cup for his Pittsburgh Penguins to worry about outside opinions on his health.
"I don't really read or listen to that stuff during the playoffs," Crosby told reporters at his annual hockey camp in his hometown.
Crosby has suffered multiple concussions during his career, including one during Game 3 of the second round against Washington in May. He missed one game before returning for Game 5, prompting questions about whether he should consider retirement.
The Penguins went on to win a second straight Cup, defeating the Nashville Predators in the final.
Crosby said he understands why concussions generate so much controversy.
"It's a hot topic," he said. "That's the nature of it right now" (see full story).
Coyotes: Patterson named president and CEO
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes hired Steve Patterson as president and CEO on Wednesday, hoping the longtime sports executive can help solve their ongoing arena issue.
The Coyotes have sought a new arena since the city of Glendale renegotiated a 15-year lease in 2015 and lost a partner for a new arena when Arizona State pulled out of an agreement earlier this year.
Patterson has worked as an NFL, NBA and college executive, serving key roles in designing and renovating arenas at nearly every stop.
The Coyotes also promoted general manager John Chayka to president of hockey operations, a day after hiring Rick Tocchet as head coach.
"Steve has a wealth of experience and has served as an innovative and successful executive in the NFL, NBA, professional hockey, professional baseball and college athletics for over 30 years," Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said in a statement. "He's built championship teams and organizations and has managed stadiums, ballparks and arenas across the United States. Most importantly, he previously worked in our market and has the necessary corporate and political relationships to help us secure a long-term home for the Coyotes in the Valley. We're thrilled to have him join us" (see full story).