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Pens signings: Stuart Percy, Sestito and Oleksy...And Jim Rutherford

The Pittsburgh Penguins open free agency very quietly, as expected. They bring back two veterans (and likely minor league depth) in Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy. And they also sign unrestricted free agent and former 1st round pick Stuart Percy to a one-year two-way deal.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins made the smallest of splashes at the start of the NHL free agency period. They signed three players, all to two-way deals: Tom Sestito, Steve Oleksy and Stuart Percey.

Sestito and Oleksy were with the Pens organization last year, mostly at the AHL level but both were depth call-ups at various points of the season (though Oleksy never was needed for a game). Both are the type of veteran, physical presence that will be great in Wilkes-Barre.

Percy is something of an interesting guy, he was a first round pick (25th) overall in 2011 and has spent his whole career with the team that drafted him, Toronto.

Pittsburgh needs to boost it's 7-8-9-10 depth in the organization for defenseman and this could be a guy in the mix for that. He's got 12 career NHL games, three of them coming last season. The left-handed defenseman also had 24 points (4g +20a) in 58 games at the AHL level last year to go with his 6'1, 193 pound frame.

We'll see what else the day has in store, former Penguin David Perron cashed in 2 years, $7.75 million back with St. Louis and it's expected that Ben Lovejoy will be signing a big contract somewhere else too this afternoon.


Pens make a more meaningful off the ice signing:

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that general manager Jim Rutherford has signed a three-year contract extension.

The deal replaces Rutherford’s current deal. He is now signed through the 2018-19 season.

A lot could be concerned what this means about the status of the Pens many assistant GMs (most notably Jason Botterill, who's reportedly an interview target for the new Las Vegas team) and that remains to be seen. NHL GM job opportunities are very rare, even well-respected, experienced and smart managers like Ray Shero have to wait a long time before they get a chance (Shero was in Nashville for over a decade).

Extending GMJR doesn't necessarily close the path off for Botterill in Pittsburgh, but it could certainly make him more patient. And if he gets another offer before that point, he'll have to take it. But he did interview for the Pens job 2 years ago, he didn't get the job and the guy who did retooled the team and made them Stanley Cup champions. It shouldn't be surprising that Penguins top brass wants to keep that GM around.