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Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Simon Despres during practice Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
By Josh Yohe
Friday, July 18, 2014, 5:54 p.m.

Defenseman Simon Despres, who was a restricted free agent, has agreed to terms with the Penguins on a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

Despres, who has shown offensive flash in the NHL, often found himself in coach Dan Bylsma's doghouse. However, the new Penguins' regime was willing to give Despres a two-year contract.

In 85 career NHL games, Despres has produced 16 points and is a plus-18.

Many in the organization believe Despres' career took a turn for the better during the 2014 AHL playoffs, when his two-way play led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the Eastern Conference Final.

During the NHL Draft last month, Penguins associate general manager Jason Botterill mentioned Despres as a player who needed to be given an opportunity next season. With defensemen Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Deryk Engelland having left via free agency — and Olli Maatta likely to miss the beginning of the season because shoulder surgery — Despres will have every opportunity to make the team.

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