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Pens sign Upper St. Clair native Reese

| Sunday, July 1, 2012, 6:12 p.m.

The Penguins added to their depth on defense Sunday by plucking an Upper St. Clair graduate from a division rival.

Former New York Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese, who played youth hockey for the now-defunct Pittsburgh Forge, signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Penguins on Day 1 of NHL free agency. He will make $600,000 if he plays in the NHL.

Reese, 27, has played in 74 regular-season games, scoring three goals and recording 17 points.

“If I was home, I would probably be on the South Side celebrating with my boys,” said Reese, who spent his day in South Carolina.

Reese described a conversation with Penguins assistant general manager Jason Botterill as “real encouraging.”

He was among the most heralded Western Pennsylvania prospects before a recent wave of players found success in the NHL entry draft.

He starred for the Forge of the North American Hockey League, playing home games at the current Robert Morris Island Sports Center. He was a seventh-round pick by the New York Rangers in 2003 and played four seasons at Harvard.

A wrist injury, which he has been rehabbing, will not prevent him from being healthy for camp, Reese said.

His decision to sign with the Penguins had little to do with his hometown connection.

“It was the opportunity,” he said. “It's no secret having a hometown kid is good for them, but I stressed I wanted to be where I have the best chance to make the team out of camp, to be an NHL player every night.”

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