Penguins sign C Vitale to an extension

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed center Joe Vitale to a two-year, $1.1 million contract extension on Friday, locking up a 26-year-old who has earned a regular spot in the lineup this season.

Vitale has three goals and seven assists while dressing for 44 of Pittsburgh's 51 games, filling a third- or fourth-line role and serving on the Penguins' fourth-ranked penalty-killing unit.

Vitale, who made his NHL debut for Pittsburgh last season, leads the team in faceoff percentage (55.9 percent) and has 24 blocked shots. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound St. Louis native would have been a restricted free agent this offseason.