Penguins get deals with Malkin, others but lose Conklin, Hall

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The Penguins signed free-agent enforcer Eric Godard to a three-year contract, a possible indication the team doesn't expect to retain tough-guy Georges Laraque.

Godard, a 6 foot 4, 227-pound right winger, had one goal, one assist and 171 penalty minutes in 74 games with Calgary last season.

He is the third player the Penguins signed today, and the first from outside the organization.

They also have lost a couple.

Tampa Bay has signed Adam Hall, a free-agent forward who spent last season with the Penguins, to a three-year contract with an annual value of $600,000, while Detroit gave goalie Ty Conklin a one-year deal worth $750,000.

Earlier, the Penguins agreed to terms on a two-year deal with defenseman Mark Eaton and a three-year contract with forward Pascal Dupuis.

Eaton's agreement is worth $2 million per season, while Dupuis' has an average annual value of $1.4 million.

What's more, the Penguins have worked out a new contract for center Evgeni Malkin. Although Malkin's deal has not been formalized, it will be patterned after Sidney Crosby's contract, running five years and including an annual salary-cap hit of $8.7 million.

Dupuis, Eaton, Hall and Conklin were four of 10 unrestricted free agents the Penguins had when the day began. Those remaining -- forwards Jarkko Ruutu, Laraque, Jeff Taffe, Kris Beech, Hossa and Laraque, defenseman Brooks Orpik -- have been allowed to entertain contract offers from the other 29 NHL teams since noon, although the Penguins haven't ruled out trying to re-sign at least a few.

There are reports that Hossa, widely regarded as the top forward available in free agency, has attracted a number of big-money offers, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he could receive some featuring an average salary of as much as $10 million.

Orpik seems to be generating considerable interest around the league, too, and some projections have him in line for offers worth $4 million or more per season.

The Penguins are allowed to continue negotiating with those two, and are believed to still have offers on the table.

Eaton, 31, joined the Penguins as a free agent two years ago, and lived up to his reputation as an outstanding shot-blocker and penalty-killer. He was an effective partner for Sergei Gonchar, but missed significant parts of both seasons because of injuries.

He had a knee surgically rebuilt after being injured Dec. 23, but should be fully recovered by the start of training camp. He had a team-high 89 blocked shots when he was injured.

Dupuis was acquired from Atlanta in the Marian Hossa deal Feb. 26, and became a valuable and versatile member of the Penguins' supporting cast.

He had two goals and 10 assists in 16 regular-season games, then added two goals and five assists in 20 playoff appearances.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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