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Darren Dreger
11/23/2006 9:21:45 PM

In the eyes of the Detroit Red Wings, Niklas Kronwall's future is worth banking on.

Sources tell TSN the Red Wings have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $15 million.

The extension is a vote of confidence for a talented 25-year-old defenseman who has suffered through both a broken leg and torn ACL since making his NHL debut in Detroit in the 2003-2004 season.

Kronwall, who has played just 63 games in the National Hockey League, will make $1.5 million in 07-08, $3 million in 08-09, $3.25 million in 09-10, $3.5 million in 2010-2011, and $3.75 million in 2011-2012, for a salary cap average of $3 million and a free agency value of closer to $3.5 million. Unquestionably, it's a gamble for both the player and the team based on the length of the term.

Although Kronwall has struggled offensively this season with just three assists, in many respects the Red Wings see him evolving into the role veteran Mathieu Schneider plays as a puck moving defenseman.

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