Sidney Crosby Could Follow Red Wings GM’s Steps to Finish Career

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Getty Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins

There aren’t many players in the history of the National Hockey League that can say they spent their whole careers playing for just one team. Pittsburgh Penguins living legend Sidney Crosby can be the next one when he decides to hang his skates… if he wants to.

As of the start of the 2024 season, 127 players played 10+ seasons with a single franchise and never switched allegiance. Crosby is well beyond that length; when this season is over next June, Crosby will have spent 19 seasons donning Pittsburgh Penguins threads. Whether or not he will do so when he calls it a career, nobody knows yet… or do we?

Penguins beat writer Josh Yohe of The Athletic joined TSN’s OverDrive show on Monday, April 8, and was asked about the future of Crosby, who will enter the last year under contract with the Penguins next summer.

Jeff O’Neill asked Yohe if the late-season push by the Penguins, who are very much in the run for a postseason berth, might have changed Crosby’s perspective about his future, one that could have been far from Pittsburgh if the team had kept struggling.

“Very unlikely (Crosby leaves),” Yohe stated. “Hey, you know, we bring this up with him about one time a year, and he doesn’t like it when we bring it up.

“He looked at us this year, and he was kind of defiant for him. He said, ‘You know, I tell you guys every year I don’t want to play anywhere else. It’s never changed,’ and I believe that.”

Will Sidney Crosby Follow the Steps of Yesteryear’s Legends?

After sharing that brief exchange between him and Crosby from earlier this season, Yohe offered an interesting angle to the conversation and the career arc of Crosby that could shape his future, one that would see him stay in Pittsburgh.

“I think one thing you have to understand about Sid is that his two heroes in life are Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux,” Yohe said. “Two guys who only ever played for one franchise.”

As introduced above, the club of players who have spent all of their careers (10-plus years active) in a single franchise only has 127 members through the end of last season.

Limiting the threshold to players with 15-plus years of experience, that list shrinks to only 50. And for players with as many seasons played as Crosby (finishing his 19th year in Pittsburgh), only 13 stayed put in their original teams.

Assuming Crosby completes his current contract, which runs through June 2025 and would see him play 20 full seasons in Pittsburgh, he would join a 12-man club. Another deal with the Penguins, even a one-year deal, would see him join elite one-franchise company as only five players ever spent 21 years with a single franchise.

Among those is Detroit Red Wings current GM and icon Steve Yzerman, who played for the Winged Wheels between 1983 and 2004 winning three Stanley Cups, exactly the same as Crosby has with Pittsburgh.

“That means a lot to him,” added Yohe, “it really does.

Sidney Crosby: One-Franchise, One-City Type of Player?

Having followed Crosby for years, Yohe has developed a better understanding of his tendencies and what he likes if only because of the hours he’s spent tracking all of his movements, comments, and performances.

“[Crosby] is just such a creature of habit—like he really is,” Yohe revealed on the show.

If Yohe was to say, he doesn’t believe Crosby would like the idea of having to settle away from Pittsburgh to play a few more years of NHL hockey.

“I don’t know if he’d even be comfortable ever playing in another city,” Yohe said. “He literally lived more than half of his life in Pittsburgh.

“I just think it’s where he’s comfortable. He wasn’t happy with how things were going this season, obviously, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t sign a new contract this summer.”

The Penguins, who are projected to have $12.92 million of cap room entering July 2024, per PuckPedia, won’t have to worry about losing Crosby for nothing this summer. That won’t be the case in 2025, but that’s a story for another day.

For now, Crosby will stay put in Pittsburgh and odds are he will end his career as a one-franchise player, joining the select club of legends that did it earlier in the history of the NHL.

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