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Penguins, defenceman Simon Despres agree to 2-year deal

Pittsburgh Penguins' Simon Despres (47) collides with St. Louis Blues' Brenden Morrow (10) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gene J. Puskar

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Pittsburgh Penguins' Simon Despres (47) collides with St. Louis Blues' Brenden Morrow (10) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gene J. Puskar

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenceman 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 defencemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen in free agency.

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