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Sunday, July 23, 2006
Pens re-sign defenseman Orpik to two-year deal


PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins decided to work out a deal with Brooks Orpik on their own.

One day before their scheduled arbitration hearing, the Penguins re-signed the defenseman to a two-year contract on Sunday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Orpik made $650,000 last season.

The 18th overall pick in the 2000 draft, Orpik completed his second full NHL campaign in 2005-06, recording two goals, seven assists and 124 penalty minutes in 64 games. The 25-year-old led the Penguins with 203 hits and 122 blocked shots while improving his plus-minus rating from minus-36 in 2003-04 to minus-3.

Orpik's 2005-06 campaign took a turn for the worse on March 3, when he boarded Carolina's Erik Cole, who missed the remainder of the regular season and all but two games during the Hurricanes' run to the Stanley Cup championship with a fractured vertebra. The NHL handed Orpik a three-game suspension for the brutal hit.

A product of Boston College, Orpik has collected three goals, 19 points and 253 penalty minutes in 149 career games with Pittsburgh.

The Penguins on Sunday also signed defenseman Matt Carkner to a one-year contract worth $450,000.

A second-round pick of Montreal in 1999, Carkner made his NHL debut with San Jose last season, registering an assist and two penalty minutes in his lone game. The 25-year-old spent the majority of the campaign with Cleveland of the American Hockey League, setting career highs with 10 goals and 21 assists while adding 202 penalty minutes in 69 contests.