In this Oct. 27, 2010, file photo, Atlanta Thrashers\' Dustin Byfuglien (33) skates before the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers in New York. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Frank Franklin II
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Thrashers locked up defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to a long-term contract Tuesday.
The US$26-million extension runs through the 2015-'16 season.
"Dustin has emerged into an elite player this season and been invaluable as a leader both on and off the ice," Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley said in a release. "It was a priority to sign him and we're looking forward to witnessing his all-star calibre play for many years to come."
Byfuglien, 25, leads the team with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) this season.
He has 152 points (72-80) in 318 career games with the Thrashers and Chicago Blackhawks. Byfuglien has 25 points (14-11) in 39 career playoff games.
He will receive $4.25 million for the next two seasons, $5.75 million in 2013-'14 and 2014-'15, and $6 million in 2015-'16.
The six-foot-five, 265-pound native of Minneapolis, Minn., won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last spring. He was traded to the Thrashers in the off-season.