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Pens sign New Hampshire's Paul Thompson and also a pair of draft picks

Not much going on in Pens world today, it's the calm before the storm of tomorrow's Philadelphia game that could put the Pens in a virtual dead-heat for the #1 seed in the East (with a regulation win) or pretty much kick them into a likely 4th seed (with a regulation loss).  Or, of course, if it's a 3 point game it just muddies the water that much more, so probably count on that.

Anyways, the Pens have made splashes with younger players today.  They signed Paul Thompson, college hockey's leading PP scorer, Hockey East player of the year and Hobey Baker finalist.  Thompson's senior season with New Hampshire recently ended, so the undrafted player was open to sign with any NHL team.  Thompson spent time last year with the Penguins at a rookie development camp, and the familiarity with the organization had to have factored heavily in his decision.

The Pens have developed many undrafted free agent college players in recent years.  Mark Letestu is the biggest success story, and Ben Lovejoy has become and NHL player as well.  Brad Thiessen has become one of the best AHL goalies this season and John Curry has developed into a solid pro as well.

The Pens have also added two young defensemen via amateur try outs.  Joe Rogalski and Viktor Ekbom (6th round, 2009) will join Wilkes-Barre for the rest of the season.  Ekbom, 21, just finished a season in the Swedish Elite League and will be getting his first taste of professional action this side of the pond.  Rogalski, 19, had a much improved second season in the OHL.

The "big fish" of college aged free agent signings is Merrimack's Stephane De Costa, a late-blooming player out of France, of all places.  He is in Toronto with his agents reviewing any number of options, including interest from the Penguins, it's been reported.  De Costa is expected to decide what team he will play for within the next few days.