Orpik agrees to 2-year deal
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The Penguins and defenseman Brooks Orpik yesterday avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year contract worth a little more than $2 million.
Roster moves and contract negotiations are nearing an end this offseason for first-year general manager Ray Shero.
"I certainly feel better right now than I did a month ago," Shero said.
The Penguins should get an arbitration ruling on forward Ryan Malone in the next day or two. His hearing was Friday.
That will leave negotiations with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a restricted free agent, and with newly acquired center Dominic Moore the remaining unresolved contracts this offseason.
Moore has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 2, but Shero said there is a good chance they can work something out before that.
Shero said things have been going slowly with Fleury, but only because Shero was busy with other moves. He expects talks to pick up this week.
Shero also hopes to add "maybe a piece or two" to the roster.
"We've done a good job so far of identifying some character players," he said. "We're still looking for a player or two, whether it's a role player or whatever."
Orpik, who had been scheduled for an arbitration hearing today, will get $1 million in 2006-07, $1,075,000 in '07-08. He earned $650,000 last season.
A first-round draft pick by the Penguins in 2000, Orpik, 25, had two goals, seven assists for nine points and 124 penalty minutes in 64 games last season, his second full NHL season.
He led the Penguins in hits with 203 and blocked shots with 122. His minus-3 rating was a big improvement over the minus-36 he had as a rookie in '03-04.
The Penguins also signed minor-league defenseman Matt Carkner to a one-year deal. Carkner, 25, had career highs with 10 goals, 21 assists and 31 points in 69 games last season for Cleveland of the American Hockey League, along with 202 penalty minutes.
With the roster shaping up and newly hired assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher reporting soon, the Penguins will continue to shape other aspects of the organization.
They need to replace head scout Greg Malone, who left for Phoenix, and decide on any other changes in the scouting staff. They need to hire a coaching staff for their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minor-league team. And they need to decide whether to hire a personnel director.
First Published July 24, 2006 12:00 am