Curry accepts 2-year contract


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Goaltender John Curry's agents gave him a nudge toward a one-year contract with the Penguins.

He opted for a two-year, two-way deal worth $1 million.

"He could have signed a one-year contract and then become a free agent [next summer]," agent Peter Fish said yesterday. "He might have more teams going for his rights that way.

"But, he said he wanted to take the two-year deal, that he wanted to eventually be in Pittsburgh, whether it's this year or next year."

The Penguins also added some depth to the organization at forward by signing veterans Wade Brookbank and Wyatt Smith.

Curry, 25, played in his first three NHL games last season while Penguins starter Marc-Andre Fleury was hurt. The third-year pro appears to be the Penguins' choice as their backup goaltender of the future, as they signed veteran Brent Johnson earlier this month to a one-year, one-way contract.

"We want a little bit more experience in the backup role, and John's getting that," general manager Ray Shero said "He's proven to be a pretty good prospect for us.

"We were pushing for two [years], too."

In his three games with the Penguins, Curry was 2-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. The former Boston University goaltender spent most of 2008-09 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, going 33-15-1 with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Fish said Curry is willing to battle or wait for a spot on the NHL roster.

"He feels good about the organization," Fish said. "I think he knows that they believe in him. He really doesn't want to go anywhere.

"He's always been put behind the eight-ball in his career. There were two scholarship goalies ahead of him at BU. He just came in with a great attitude, and, three games into the season, he was the No. 1 goalie. That's kind of how he takes things."

Brookbank, 31, and Smith, 32, are projected to fill in for the loss of several free agents with Wilkes-Barre, but could be viable call-ups for the Penguins. They were with the Nashville organization when Shero worked there.

Brookbank, who played 29 games for Wilkes-Barre in 2006-07, is 6 feet 4, 225 pounds and has a physical edge. He has 127 NHL games on his resume, with six goals, nine points and 345 penalty minutes. Smith has 10 goals, 32 points in 211 NHL games.

Although hiring an assistant coach for the Penguins and one for Wilkes-Barre are the most pressing issues remaining this offseason, Shero said he is keeping an eye on unsigned free agents and wouldn't rule out adding a couple players to beef up the training camp roster, possibly on a tryout basis.


Shelly Anderson can be reached at shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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