Penguins sign D Pettersson to 5-year extension

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28), of Sweden, and Nashville Predators center Nick Bonino (13) chase the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Marcus Pettersson is sticking with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 23-year-old defenseman agreed to a five-year contract extension on Tuesday that runs through the 2024-25 season. The deal carries an average annual value of just over $4 million.

Pittsburgh acquired Pettersson in a December 2018 trade that sent forward Daniel Sprong to Anaheim. Pettersson has become one of the steadiest players on the Penguins’ blue line over the last 13 months. He has one goal and 14 assists in 50 games this season with a plus-4 rating. He also ranks fourth on the team in hits (78) and blocked shots (57).

“In just over a year, Marcus has had a significant impact on our defensive group,” Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “He is young, reliable and smart, which is important in today’s game. Marcus is part of our young core and it was important to get him signed long-term.”

Pettersson is also durable. Last season he became the 11th player since 1994 to appear in 84 games, an achievement he reached due to the timing of the trade that brought him to the Penguins. He has not missed a game yet this season for Pittsburgh.

The Penguins, who currently are in second place in the Metropolitan Division behind Washington, return to play on Friday night against Philadelphia.