Pens sign forward D’Agostini to 1-year deal
Matt D’Agostini wanted a fresh start.
He will get at least that with the Penguins, who signed D’Agostini on Wednesday.
D’Agostini, a right winger, agreed to a one-year contract that will count $550,000 against the salary cap if he plays in the NHL. The contract is a two-way deal.
“Last year was tough, not playing a lot; so I look at Pittsburgh as a great opportunity,” said D’Agostini, who split the 2013 season with St. Louis and New Jersey.
“I think I can bring some versatility and jump to the third or fourth line.”
D’Agostini, 26, scored three goals and produced six points in 29 games last season. He is two seasons removed from scoring 21 goals with St. Louis.
The Penguins, though up against the cap, are looking for bottom-six depth among forwards. The club is committed to 10 forwards on one-way contracts for next season. It is also committed to $64.2 million against the $64.3 million cap.
Clubs can go over the cap by 10 percent in the summer and need not be cap compliant until season-opening rosters are set.
Third line battle
Training camp is at least two months away, but one competition already shaping up is for the left wing slot on the third line.
Penguins coaches favor keeping Beau Bennett at his natural position (right wing) and trying him on a third line that will be centered by Brandon Sutter. If that plan holds, D’Agostini could join an open competition for the other wing on that line.
Other third-line left winger contenders will include Tanner Glass, who could fill the physical void created by Matt Cooke’s departure as a free agent, and Dustin Jeffrey, whose improved defensive play has earned high marks with coaches. Jeffrey, a restricted free agent, was tendered a qualifying offer by the Penguins last week.
The Penguins’ third line had been a model of stability prior to last season, when Sutter replaced departed center Jordan Staal. Cooke, Staal and right winger Tyler Kennedy had formed the third line from 2008-12. Those three players are now with other clubs.
The NHL schedule will not be released until at least several days after the league and International Olympic Committee agree on an arrangement for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday in an email that he expected something “relatively soon — likely next week sometime” regarding an Olympic agreement.
NHL clubs have been told to expect the 2013-14 scheduled to be released by late July.
Around the boards
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has opted for a salary arbitration hearing instead of accepting the Penguins’ qualifying offer ($577,500). The Penguins are trying to sign Bortuzzo to a multi-year deal. … Coach Dan Bylsma is spending this week visiting with Ron Wilson, who coached the United States at the 1998 and 2010 Winter Olympics. Bylsma, who has no experience coaching in international competitions, will lead Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Games. … The Penguins have not aggressively explored trades of defensemen Matt Niskanen or Brooks Orpik. Both players are in the final years of their contracts. General manager Ray Shero has not ruled out making trades this summer to free up cap space, though he has not identified which players would be available. Orpik, the longest-tenured Penguins player, has a limited-movement clause in his contract.