Johan Franzen. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Don Heupel
DETROIT - Detroit signed forward Johan Franzen to an 11-year, US$43.5 million deal Saturday, keeping him off the free agent market and retaining a talent that helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup.
The contract averages $3.95 million per season. The team said the deal for Franzen, known as Mule, is the second-longest in team history.
"His production over the past year and a half, both regular season and playoffs, has been remarkable and we feel, at 29 years old, that he is just now entering the prime of his career," said general manager Ken Holland.
The Red Wings also kept forward Henrik Zetterberg off the market with a 12-year deal in January. They are hoping to do the same with forward Marian Hossa before he becomes a free agent this summer.
Franzen, who is in his fourth NHL season, leads Detroit with 34 goals. His 59 points trailed only Pavel Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Hossa. After averaging 11 goals in his first two seasons, Franzen had 27 goals last year in the regular season and 13 in the playoffs to help Detroit win the Stanley Cup.
"I started my career here. I had some good times here, four good years, playing with great players," Franzen said. "I really wanted to stay here."
"We got a cap number that we think is good," Holland said. "On the open market, I think he'd get well into the $5.5s."
Franzen sustained a subdural hematoma that kept him out of six games of the playoffs last year. At the time, he said blood pooled between his skull and brain and took two to three weeks to be absorbed.
Franzen was a third-round pick of the Red Wings in the 2004 draft.