Defenseman Mark Eaton has officially signed a one year deal with the Penguins, the team announced. The deal is worth $725,000. With the addition of Eaton, the Penguins are currently carrying 13 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goaltenders. Evgeni Malkin has been placed on injured reserve.
At 35 years old it remains to be seen whether Eaton can provide much other than being a veteran presence in the locker room. Eaton in his last stint in Pittsburgh (2009-2010) was showing signs of being on the downside of his career and last season in New York he looked like a defenseman who would struggle to find work and that ended up being the case as no teams were knocking on his door to sign him.
The Penguins have not been big fans of carrying 8 defensemen long-term this season so it remains unlikey that the Penguins will carry 8 defensemen once Malkin is healthy.
The buzz on Thursday was that the team had internal discussions of sending Simon Despres down if they were to move forward and sign Eaton.
Regarding Despres there continues to be mixed opinions on what’s best for him. Some feel he needs to keep playing in the NHL and playing a regular role, while others feel he can still benefit from playing a more prominent role in the minors.