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.
In other news, the Penguins hired seven-time All-Star Mark Recchi as the franchise’s player development coach.
The 46-year-old Recchi will be in charge of working with prospects throughout the minor leagues as well as at the college and junior levels.
Recchi spent the last two years as a senior adviser with the Dallas Stars. He scored 577 goals during a 22-year career that included stints in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montreal, Boston and Carolina. Recchi won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins, the Hurricanes and the Bruins.