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Old 07-01-2008, 03:20 PM   #671
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Penguins re-sign Eaton, Dupuis, agree to extension with Malkin
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free-agent defenseman Mark Eaton.

The deal is believed to be worth $1 million annually.

They also have worked out a new contract for center Evgeni Malkin. Although Malkin's deal has not been formalized, it will be patterned after Sidney Crosby's contract, running five years and including an annual salary-cap hit of $8.7 million.

Eaton joined the Penguins as a free agent two years ago, and lived up to his reputation as an outstanding shot-blocker and penalty-killer. He was an effective partner for Sergei Gonchar, but missed significant parts of both seasons because of injuries.

He had a knee surgically rebuilt after he was injured in December, but said he should be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

The Penguins made their first free-agent signing late this morning, when they agreed to a three-year deal with forward Pascal Dupuis.

The contract is worth an average of $1.4 million per season.

Dupuis was acquired from Atlanta in the Marian Hossa deal Feb. 26, and became a valuable and versatile member of the Penguins' supporting cast.

Dupuis had two goals and 10 assists in 16 regular-season games, then added two goals and five assists in 20 playoff appearances.

Dupuis was one of 10 unrestricted free agents the Penguins had when the day began. The remaining eight are now officially able to entertain contract offers from the other 29 NHL teams, although the Penguins haven't ruled out trying to re-sign at least a few.

The Penguins owned exclusive negotiating rights to those players -- forwards Jarkko Ruutu, Georges Laraque, Adam Hall, Jeff Taffe, Kris Beech and Hossa, defenseman Brooks Orpik and goalie Ty Conklin -- until noon, at which time the league's labor agreement gave them clearance to seek work elsewhere.

Hossa, widely regarded as the top forward available in free agency, is expected to attract a number of big-money offers, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he could receive proposals featuring an average salary of as much as $10 million.

Orpik figures to generate a lot of interest around the league, too, and some projections have him in line for offers worth $4 million or more per season.

The Penguins are allowed to coninue negotiating with those two, as well as their other free agents, and are believed to still have offers on the table.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First published on July 1, 2008 at 11:41 am
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