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Pens re-sign Sutter: two years, $6.6 million

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 22: Brandon Sutter #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 22, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Justin K. Aller

Brandon Sutter got himself a raise.

Sutter, Pittsburgh’s gritty third-line center that came on strongly at the end of last season, has agreed to a two-year extension with the club worth $6.6 million. The deal carries an average annual cap hit of $3.3M -- a nice bump from the $2.06M Sutter made annually on his last deal -- and puts the Pens roughly $1 million away from the salary cap ceiling,

Sutter, 25, has struggled at times to match the kind of production he had in Carolina -- he scored 21 goals and 40 points in his sophomore campaign -- but is playing a different role with the Pens than he was with the ‘Canes. What’s more, Sutter was one of Pittsburgh’s better performers in last year’s playoffs, finishing third on the team with five goals while averaging just under 16 minutes per night.

This season, Sutter projects to center the club’s new-look third line, which could feature Nick Spaling (who came from Nashville in the James Neal trade) and Steve Downie.