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Pens sign veterans Sykora, Sydor |

Pens sign veterans Sykora, Sydor

The first day of the NHL’s free-agent season was a busy one for Penguins general manger Ray Shero, who worked early into the morning to sign two veterans after apparently just missing on deals for a couple of other notables.

Pittsburgh reached terms with defenseman Darryl Sydor and right wing Petr Sykora. The deals are each for two years, with Sydor reported to earn a total of $5 million.

Those signings came only hours after the Penguins refused to pay a premium for defenseman Scott Hannan and left wing Paul Kariya, Sunday.

Hannan, who the Penguins had made their top target, signed a four-year deal worth $18 million with Colorado. Pittsburgh was among the final teams on Hannan’s list; however the Penguins were not willing to pay more than $4 million annually on a long-term deal for the former San Jose defenseman.

At one point on Sunday the Penguins were considered a favorite to land Kariya, but St. Louis pushed strong late and signed him at three years for $18 million. Pittsburgh was willing to match the length of that contract but never seriously considered going about $4 million per year for Kariya.

The Penguins kicked off Sunday by locking up the services of defenseman Ryan Whitney for six years at $24 million.

“Basically, I feel pretty honored for them to give me a long-term deal like this,” Whitney said via telephone from his home in Boston. “I could not be happier to be in Pittsburgh. We have a great group of guys and a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”

Whitney, 24, was a restricted free agent. Under term of the league’s collective bargaining agreement he was free to sign an offer sheet from another club, which means the Penguins could have been forced to choose between matching such an offer or risk losing Whitney for compensatory draft picks.

Shero wanted to add a scoring-line winger and a veteran defenseman via the free-agent route, and in Sykora and Sydor he addressed both needs.

Sykora, 30, spent last year with Edmonton, which he paced with 22 goals and 53 points. Sydor, 35, tallied five goals and recorded 21 points for Dallas this past season.

Also on Sunday, the Penguins signed goaltender Dany Sabourin, who was part of the organization from August 2005 until October 2006.

Sabourin signed a two-year deal worth $1.025 million. He spent this past season with Vancouver. He has appeared in just 14 NHL games, going 2-8-1 with a 3.13 goals-against average.

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