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Aston-Reese contract signing transcript

by Pittsburgh Penguins @penguins / Penguins

The Penguins re-signed forward Zach Aston-Reese to a new two-year contract with a $1 million annual value. Here is a transcript of his media availability. 

On where he sees himself among the those competing for jobs in the NHL:
I don't really want to label myself to one position. If you look at some of the moves we've made as a team this off-season its filling out the roster, giving our team a lot of depth. I think throughout the last two seasons I've seen minutes on the fourth line and minutes on the first line. Wherever I've been, I've been able to do my job. As far as that's concerned, I don't have any expectations of what the lines are going to look like. I just want to go in, bring my game and do what's asked of me. 

On his summer: 
I took a little break when the season ended. I didn't do much, just relaxed. I made the decision to move up to Toronto this summer and train at Andy O'Brien's gym. I've been here the last two months. Things have been going well. It's been awesome being around the amount of pros and the caliber of guys that are at the gym and have been skating. 
Dom Simon has been up here training. I go in early in the morning. Some of the early morning guys like Sam Miletic is up here. I've been hanging out with him a lot. He's a great guy. (Andrew) Mangiapane from Calgary. Cameron Gaunce and (Jamie) Oleksiak, those are the morning guys. The bigger names like (Jeff) Skinner and (John) Tavares, they all skate. We work out twice a week as a big group. Everyone is friendly and nice, and easy to get along with. 

On avoiding arbitration: 
It's a crazy process. It's a little bit awkward. I was really happy to get the deal done before that meeting began. You hear stories and things like that, it's no coincidence that only five percent actually go through with the meeting. I was really relieved to avoid that. 

On being a Pens fan as a kid:
My dad is from Pittsburgh. He moved to New York when he was younger and met my mom. I grew up a Pittsburgh everything fan. I used to have the VHS tape for the 91-92 Cups. I would watch those as a kid. Alexei Kovalev was my favorite player growing up. It's definitely special. It felt more special when I first chose to sign with Pittsburgh just making my dad proud. I think getting this deal done was a big accomplishment for myself. 

On the Pens being harder to play against: 
If you look at some of the moves, like bringing in (Brandon) Tanev brings another physical element. Adding more depth and guys that maybe won't be as risky offensively. If you look at the Islanders in that first series against us, other than the first line there wasn't anything crazy offensively. They just made a big commitment to checking and playing solid defense. I think we're taking note of that. I think with a lot of the moves we made, just on paper it's a big difference. 

On the closeness of arbitration: 
We were setting up for the meeting and got it right before it started. I think right at 9 o'clock it got done, so right on time. 

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