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Penguins Sign Valabik to Two-Way Deal

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Photo courtesy of theahl.com
The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that they have signed Boris Valabik to a one-year two way contract that would pay him $550,000 at the NHL level. Valabik, 25, is a 6-7, 245 pound defenseman not known for his offensive talent,  posting a career high 11 points (0G, 11A) last season split between the Chicago Wolves and Providence Bruins of the AHL.

An interesting signing to say the least. Valabik adds size and grit, as well as experience. He's spent most of his career in the AHL (184 games), but has played in 80 NHL games as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers. He is also a former first round pick (10th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Valabik was a member of the Chicago Wolves  when they beat the WBS Penguins in the Calder Cup Finals in 2008 where he scored three goals in 24 playoff games, the highest goal total of his career.

What this means for the WBS Penguins blue line after the jump.


The signing of Valabik to a two-way deal gives the Penguins 7 defenseman in the AHL for 2011-12:

Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Carl Sneep, Boris Valabik, Alex Grant and Philip Samuelsson.
Valabik adds size, experience and a physical presence to a young, talented blue line. I see him slotting in on the 3rd pairing and playing the role of a Deryk Engelland type defenseman: responsible in his own zone defensively and a tough guy to protect the prospects.

I've seen Valabik play against the Pens and I can tell you he's a big, physical defenseman that isn't afraid to drop the gloves. He's fought quite a few tough guys in the NHL including current Penguins Arron Asham and Eric Godard. And then there's the classic Valabik-Bonvie tilt.

It's a little early to project what the pairings might look like in October, but if the organization stands pat in regards to defenseman I could see the pairings as follows:
Robert Bortuzzo - Brian Strait
Simon Despres - Carl Sneep
Boris Valabik - Alex Grant
7th defenseman - Philip Samuelsson
Not a bad unit to start the season with, although it could use a major upgrade with one more offensively gifted defenseman.

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