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Matt Niskanen signs with Capitals

Matt Niskanen signs with Capitals Photo:

Former Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen, one of the top free agent defensemen available, has signed with the Washington Capitals, the team announced. His contract is worth $40.25 million over seven years.

“We are very excited that Matt Niskanen has chosen to sign with Washington,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “At 27 years of age, he is just entering his prime for a defenseman. We feel he will be a staple on our blueline for many years to come. We have stated all along that upgrading the defense was our top priority this offseason and we feel we accomplished our goal with our signings today.”

Niskanen broke into the league with the Dallas Stars at age 21 in 2007. He had played for Pittsburgh since being acquired in a trade in February 2011.

MORE FREE AGENCYVanek goes home to Wild | Iginla signs with Avalanche

The Penguins chose to save money by letting Niskanen go, and instead signed Christian Ehrhoff to a one-year, $4 million deal.

— Dan Gartland

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