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Dupuis signs three-year contract; Malkin could be close to finalizing deal

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Pascal Dupuis to a three-year contract Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Dupuis and star winger Marian Hossa came to the Penguins in a trading deadline deal from Atlanta.

Hossa has so far rebuffed the Penguins and is expected to fetch more on the free-agent market than the $7 million a year the team has reportedly offered him over five years.

Meanwhile, the Penguins appear close to finalizing a multiyear deal with center Evgeni Malkin, considered the team's best player not named Sidney Crosby.

The team has made no official announcement, and Malkin's agent,
J.P. Barry, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday. Malkin, however, said after the NHL awards ceremony last month that he expected to sign a contract extension with the Penguins soon.

The Penguins also signed oft-injured defenseman Mark Eaton to a two-year deal. Eaton had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament in January, but is expected to be ready for training camp.

Limited to just 71 games over the last two seasons, Eaton has been an effective shot-blocker who was most often paired with Sergei Gonchar, the team's top defenseman.

Dupuis' deal will pay him $1.4 million to $1.5 million a year. The speedy Dupuis had two goals and 10 assists in 18 regular season games and two goals and five assists in 20 playoff games for the Penguins, who lost in the Stanley Cup finals to Detroit.

"I think that after the trade he really came into his own as a player and played with as much confidence as he ever has in his career," Dupuis' agent Allan Walsh said. "I think his last three months have been the most enjoyable three months of his playing career."

Dupuis has 83 goals and 91 assists in 435 NHL games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Wild in April 2001.

Dupuis also played for the New York Rangers before moving to Atlanta.

Hossa, an outstanding two-way player who has scored 30 or more goals in six of his 10 NHL seasons, shed his reputation as a playoff underachiever with a team-leading 12 goals in the playoffs.

The Penguins earlier this week traded their rights to forwards
Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, and have received a third-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning, which signed both players before the free agent deadline.

In addition to Malkin, the Penguins were said to be negotiating a contract with starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and were still hoping to retain hard-hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik, though he was eligible for free agency.

The Penguins also said they had reached a three-year contract agreement with forward Eric Godard. The 28-year-old enforcer spent the last season with the Calgary Flames, recording two points. Godard debuted with the NHL in the 2002-03 season when he played for the
New York Islanders.