The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with forwards Dominik Simon and Daniel Sprong on two-year contracts, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Both contracts will run through the 2019-20 season, and each contains an average annual value of $750,000.
Defenseman Kevin Czuczman was re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract that contains an average annual value of $650,000 at the NHL level.
Simon, 23, saw his first extended NHL duty with the Penguins in 2017-18, playing in 33 games with four goals and eight assists in the regular season. Simon made his NHL playoff debut in Round One versus Philadelphia, where he posted his first playoff point (assist) in Game 4. He finished the playoffs with eight games played and three assists. Prior to making the jump to the NHL, Simon spent time with AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in '17-18, where he played in 21 games and accumulated 17 points (4G-13A).
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Simon made his NHL debut with the Penguins on March 13, 2016 where he earned his first NHL assist on Matt Cullen's game-winning goal in a 5-3 win against the New York Rangers. Simon scored his first NHL goal on January 14, 2018 against the Rangers. Eleven days later, on January 25, 2018 he recorded his first multi-goal game (2 goals) against Minnesota.
Simon, a Prague, Czech Republic native, played the majority of his first two seasons in North America with WBS. His best season came as a rookie in 2015-16 when he led the team with 25 goals, and tacked on 23 assists and 48 points in 68 games. His outstanding play earned him a spot in the 2016 AHL All-Star Game. Simon was drafted by the Penguins in the fifth round (137th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Sprong, 21, wrapped up his first full professional season as one of the most dynamic offensive performers in the American Hockey League in '17-18. He finished the season ranked inside the AHL's top-10 in goals (32, T-2nd), points (65, 5th), power-play goals (11, T-8th) and shots (214, 4th). His goal and point totals led both WBS and all AHL rookies. Sprong's 32 goals established a WBS rookie record.
A 6-foot, 180-pound native of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sprong was selected to play in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. Around midseason, he earned a brief eight-game stint at the NHL level with Pittsburgh. His best performance during that stretch came during a 4-0 defeat of the New York Islanders on Jan. 5, 2018, a game that turned around Pittsburgh's season. Sprong had three points (2G-1A) that evening playing on the Penguins' top line next to Simon and captain Sidney Crosby.
Originally the Penguins' top pick (2nd round; 46th overall) in 2015, Sprong capped a stellar junior career in 2016-17 with 32 goals and 59 points in just 31 regular-season games with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Despite missing the first half of the season following offseason shoulder surgery, Sprong registered 10 multi-goal games and four hat tricks (including a 4-goal game) with the Islanders.
Sprong made the Penguins' opening-night roster as an 18 year old in 2015-16, scoring twice in 18 games before returning to Charlottetown. After netting 16 goals and 46 points in 33 regular-season games, plus another 15 points (4G-11A) in 12 postseason appearances, with the Islanders, Sprong joined the WBS Penguins for the AHL playoffs. He had five goals and seven points in 10 playoff contests. His five goals tied Jake Guentzel for the team lead.
Czuczman (CHUHRCH-muhn), 27, spent the majority of his first season in the Pittsburgh organization with WBS in '17-18. He led all club defenders in points with 35 (4G-31A), while posting a plus-15 in a team-high 71 games. His assist, point and plus-minus totals were all AHL career bests. Czuczman also spent a cup of coffee at the NHL level with the Penguins, but he did not appear in any games.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound blueliner has played in 271 career AHL contests over four years with WBS, Manitoba and Bridgeport. He has 18 goals, 71 assists and 89 points. Czuczman has also skated in five AHL postseason games.
Czuczman, who hails from Port Elgin, Ontario, played 13 NHL games with the New York Islanders in 2013-14, recording two assists. He joined the Islanders as an undrafted free agent that winter following a three-year college career at Lake Superior.