While contract talks with their premier center will pick up next week, the Penguins secured depth at that position today by signing Maxime Talbot and Erik Christensen to multi-year deals.
Talbot and Christensen were each restricted free agents and would have been eligible for arbitration had they not agreed to deals by 5 p.m. Their signings leave the Penguins with just three remaining restricted free agents: right wing Colby Armstrong, center Tim Brent and defenseman Ryan Lannon.
Talbot and Christensen each agreed to two-year deals. Talbot will earn $650,000 this season and $700,000 in 2008-09. Terms of Christensen's deal were not yet known.
Christensen, 23, tallied 18 goals and recorded 15 assist this past season. He tied for the NHL-lead with eight shootout goals. His agent, Craig Oster, also represents Armstrong and was attempting to close a multi-year between Armstrong and the Penguins prior to the arbitration deadline.
Arbitration-eligible players are free to sign with their respective clubs until their hearing.
Talbot, 23, scored 13 goals and recorded 24 points this past season.
Talbot is represented by agent Pat Brisson, who also counts Sidney Crosby among his clients. The Penguins plan to sign Crosby to a long-term extension this summer. Crosby's entry-level deal will expire after this season. Brisson and Pittsburgh general manage Ray Shero have agreed to resume contract talks early next week.
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