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Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic celebrates his goal as Ottawa Senators left wing Milan Michalek (9), of the Czech Republic, watches in the second period of an NHL game in Boston, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.

Elise Amendola/The Associated Press

The NHL's spending spree continues.

Less than a day from a pending lockout that will shut the league down over player costs, the Boston Bruins announced another expensive signing Saturday morning.

This time, the Bruins inked power forward Milan Lucic to a three-year, $18-million contract extension. Lucic is the third key young player signed by the Bruins over the past week. Previously, they also signed Tyler Seguin (six years, $34.5-million) and Brad Marchand (four years, $18-million) to new deals.

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At the time of the Seguin signing, Bruins' general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged that the optics of the flurry of signings didn't look great against the backdrop of a pending lockout, but defended the move by saying that he wanted his core players locked up for when hockey resumes play. Lucic falls into the same category as the other two, a 24-year-old, with five NHL seasons under his belt, who played as a top-six forward on their 2011 Stanley Cup team. The popular Lucic, from Vancouver, has played 359 games with the Bruins over the course of his career, scoring 90 goals, adding 122 assists, along with 525 penalty minutes and a plus-43 rating.

Lucic is coming off a 61-point season for the Bruins, but his value is as much his intimidating physical presence as his scoring touch around the net.

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