Simon Despres signs two-year, $1.8M deal with Penguins

Will Simon Despres play a more important role on the Penguins' blue line this season?

Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — 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, where he had a team-best plus-19.

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.