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Skoula Eager to Help Penguins

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
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The Penguins defense got a boost Tuesday with the announced signing of veteran defenseman Martin Skoula to a one-year contract.

Skoula adds nine years of NHL experience, including a Stanley Cup championship in 2001 with Colorado, to the Penguins’ roster. He’s played in over 700 career games with stints in Colorado, Anaheim, Dallas and Minnesota, and he's ready to help his new team defend its own Stanley Cup title.

“Obviously last year they were the best team,” Skoula said. “I’m just excited to be here. I want to help them get to another Cup and help them win it again.”

Skoula, 29, is a reliable and steady defenseman. He’s posted career totals of 41 goals, 144 assists, 185 points and a plus-13 rating, as well as 14 post-season points (1G-13A), and has appeared in at least 78 games in each of his nine seasons.

“I want to be there for my team,” he said. “(My game is) skating and moving the puck to the forwards and contributing to the offense. I don’t make many mistakes in my zone and these are things I can bring to the team.”

Skoula was drafted by Colorado with the 17th-overall pick of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He broke into the league one year later at just 19 years old. At the age of 20, Skoula totaled 25 points (8G-17A) in 82 games and five points (1G-4A) in 23 post-season games to help Colorado capture the Stanley Cup title in 2001.

“It was obviously the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” Skoula said. “It was so long ago that I don’t remember a lot. Hopefully, we can do it here again.”

While with Colorado, Skoula played under head coach Tony Granato, who is now a Penguins assistant coach. Granato spoke to Skoula about adapting to Pittsburgh’s style of play and to the Eastern Conference.
“For me it will be a great fit for the team,” Skoula said. “I played on different teams and different styles but the Penguins like to play (up-tempo). That’s what (Granato and I) talked about. I’ve known him since (Colorado). That would help me to ease my way.”

And once Skoula learns to play the Penguins style, he can concentrate on his own game.

“I’m going to adapt to the system but still want to play my game,” he said. “I think I can help this team and that’s what I plan to do.”
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