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Penguins continue to bolster minor-league depth

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Thursday, July 5, 2012, 10:10 a.m.
 

The Penguins have been among the more aggressive teams this offseason in stockpiling minor league depth, and they continued that trend Thursday by signing forward Philippe Dupuis.

The two-way contract is for one year and is worth $600,000 at the NHL level.

Dupuis, 27, spent last season with the Toronto organization. He helped the AHL Marlies to the Calder Cup Final, finishing third among AHL players with 14 points in 17 playoff games.

Dupuis (6-foot, 196 pounds) has played in 116 NHL games with Colorado and Toronto. He has recorded six goals and 18 points to go with 62 penalty minutes.

At the very least, his signing should provide an interesting training camp for Penguins head equipment manager Dana Heinze, who will have to figure out jersey nameplates for Dupuis and veteran Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis, who is not related.

No big follow

The Penguins have about $11 million available in salary-cap space but have not committed to spending that money this offseason.

The cap for next season is $70.2 million, pending a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its Players Association. The current deal expires in September.

The Penguins were unsuccessful in their attempt to lure the top two free agents — winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, each of whom signed 13-year deals worth $98 million with Minnesota. Shero has not ruled out signing free agents or making a trade to fill needs for a top-six winger and/or a defenseman to play with Kris Letang on the club's No. 1 pairing.

The Penguins have not been inactive this offseason. In addition to locking up franchise center Sidney Crosby to a 12-year extension, Shero traded center Jordan Staal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek while adding center Brandon Sutter and veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun.

The club had fielded offers for Paul Martin, but they are no longer actively shopping their highest-paid defenseman. Martin has three years remaining on a deal that pays him $5 million annually.

Prospects coming

Defensemen Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta, Joe Morrow, Scott Harrington and Simon Despres — arguably the top prospects in the Penguins' system — will be in town next week for a developmental camp at Consol Energy Center.

Fans are invited to attend the camp scrimmage for free on July 14. The camp runs from July 10-14 and features 22 players drafted by the Penguins, including nine from the 2012 draft held at Consol Energy Center.

Pouliot, Maatta and Morrow were first-round picks from the past two drafts. Despres was a first-round pick in 2009. Harrington was a second-round pick in 2011.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rrossi@tribweb.com or (412) 380-5635.

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