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Penguins keep Orpik

by John Kreiser

Brooks Orpik
Hours after locking up Evgeni Malkin and losing star forward Marian Hossa, the Pittsburgh Penguins made sure one of their most reliable defensemen is staying put. Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero announced Wednesday that Brooks Orpik has signed a six-year deal with the Penguins.

Orpik, 27, played in 78 games for the Penguins during the 2007-08 season, recording career highs with 10 assists and 11 points along with a career-best plus-11 rating.  Orpik was second among defensemen and fifth in the NHL during the regular season with 239 hits. He also ranked third on the Penguins with 125 blocked shots in the regular season and is three games shy of 300 in his career.

During the Playoffs, Orpik led the entire NHL in hits (102) and blocked shots (61) helping the Penguins advance to the Stanley Cup Final.  He averaged 20:47 of ice time in the postseason after averaging 16:57 during the regular season.

"Brooks has become a mainstay of our blue line and played an important role in our run to the Stanley Cup Final," Shero said. "He provides the kind of physical presence you need on a Cup contender, and his work ethic, preparation, and determination are second to none."

The Penguins drafted the 6-2, 210-pound defenseman in the first round (No. 18 overall) of the 2000 NHL Draft. Orpik has played career NHL games, scoring four goals and adding 32 assists for 36 points. Prior to turning pro, Orpik played three seasons at Boston College and helped lead the Eagles to the 2001 NCAA Championship.

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