Penguins' Notebook: Forward Conner re-signs for 2-way deal for 1 year


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While the Penguins watch for players at their development camp who might be able to step up to the NHL roster this season, they also added a forward who could compete for such a spot.

They re-signed Chris Conner Tuesday to a one-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 at the NHL level, a $50,000 raise. He was a restricted free agent.

Conner, 26, has played 79 NHL games. In his first season with the Penguins in 2009-10, he had two goals, three points in eight regular-season and one postseason game.

For Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, he had 19 goals and was second on the team with 56 points and 37 assists in 59 games.

Three miss practice

Three players sat out the first practice of the camp.

Defenseman Viktor Ekbom and center Andy Bathgate are coming off of shoulder surgery. Goaltender Mattias Modig stayed off the ice as a precaution because he recently had a knee injury.

Bennett needs to beef up

Winger Beau Bennett, the Penguins' first-round draft pick last month, is listed at 6 feet 1, 173 pounds, and the 18-year-old certainly looks slight compared with most of the others at the camp.

"I just come in, work hard, try to do well," he said. "These guys are so good and a lot stronger than me, so just come out and do my best."

He showed a few nice moves in one-on-one drills, but struggled at times to keep from being ridden off the puck.

"I think going the college route, that will be something I'll take to heart," Bennett, who is headed to Denver University, said. "We'll be in the gym four or five times a week."

His predecessor by a year, defenseman Simon Despres, was in the same situation a year ago at development camp. The 2009 first-round pick showed up this year looking much more muscular.

"Yeah, I've been working out a little bit," said Despres, who is entering his first pro season. He is listed at 6-4, 205.

Tip-ins

For the first 45 minutes of the two-hour session, about half the group worked with Marrianne Watkins, a power skating instructor from the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center. ... The prospects will be on the ice at Southpointe again at 3 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday. They have morning workouts at what the team is again calling the Civic Arena. Those workouts figure to be the final official activities before the team staff moves across the street to Consol Energy Center. ... Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach Todd Reirden, the point man in running the camp, on the 13 players who were promoted to the Penguins last season: "It's one of my favorite parts of the job, telling them that they're coming up to play in the National Hockey League." ... The Penguins have become the first NHL team to sign with Arbitron for custom radio ratings and will receive game and season estimates, along with estimates for pregame and postgame programming, according to Radio Ink Magazine.


For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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