The deal will pay Niskanen an average annual salary of $2.3 million per season and he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency when it expires after the 2013-14 season. He made $1.5 million this past season.
|2012 NHL Free Agency|
|More NHL coverage|
Niskanen was acquired by the Penguins during the 2010-11 season from the Dallas Stars, along with 40-goal scorer James Neal, in the blockbuster trade that sent defenseman Alex Goligoski the other way. Since arriving in Pittsburgh Niskanen's career has seen a pretty drastic turnaround after a couple of down years in Dallas.
He spent this past season playing mostly on Pittsburgh's third defensive pairing alongside Deryk Engelland, but he also moved up in the lineup when needed due to injuries in Pittsburgh's top-four defensemen.
He finished the season with four goals and 17 assists in 75 games, while also posting strong possession numbers (plus-7 relative Corsi, tops among Pittsburgh defensemen).
With Niskanen signed the Penguins enter Sunday with over $12 million in space under the $70.2 million cap and 19 players under contract for the upcoming season.