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Penguins, defenseman Simon Despres agree to 2-year deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Simon Despres to a two-year contract worth $900,000 per season.

The 22-year-old Despres appeared in a career-high 22 games for the Penguins last season, finishing with five assists. He scored six goals and added 16 assists in 36 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. His plus/minus ratio of plus-19 led the team.

Despres struggled to stay in the lineup under former Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, but will have a chance to play regularly after the team lost veteran defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen in free agency.