THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators signed a pair of veteran wingers Wednesday.
Agitor Jarkko Ruutu, an unrestricted free agent, left the Pittsburgh Penguins after signing a US$3.9-million, three-year deal with the Senators while Ottawa also re-signed Shean Donovan to a $1.25-million, two-year deal.
"A big body, a strong guy, strong character, good guy," Senators GM Bryan Murray said of Ruutu, 32. "Certainly a guy that plays a good role, he’s an agitator, a guy that shows up every night and plays hard and plays well.
"Most people don’t pay attention to this but he’s also a good shootout guy."
Ruutu, who will earn $1.3 million a season, had 16 points (6-10) and 138 penalty minutes with the Penguins last season. He has 83 points (36-47) in 419 career regular-season games with the Penguins and Vancouver Canucks and has never been shy to drop the gloves.
Donovan, who will earn $600,000 next season and $650,000 in 2009-10, had 12 points (5-7) and 73 penalty minutes last season with the Senators. The 33-year-old native of Timmins, Ont., has 226 points (105-121) in 856 career regular-season games with the Senators, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins.
"The one thing I found out in the conversations is that he really wanted to stay in Ottawa," said Murray. "He’s from here, he wants to settle here for the most part. He like the guy, I like his energy. He got a chance in the latter part of the year to contribute more than he did early on and I thought he did a real good job for us.
"He was at the right price for us and the right role for us."
Murray still has to re-sign a pair of key restricted free agents in forward Antoine Vermette and defenceman Andrej Meszaros.
"We are talking," said Murray. "I’m hoping that we’re proceeding down the right path and that we can come to an agreement that will allow both of these guys for the Ottawa Senators."
The Senators would also like to add another defenceman. Murray said they inquired about some of the top free agents that moved in the first two days of free agency but weren’t able to land one.
"It may be the trade route later on," Murray said of acquiring a blue-liner. "We’ll keep our lines in the water and hope that there’s one guy that can play in the league and play in particular in an offensive role for us."