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Matt Niskanen informs Penguins he will test free agency

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Matt Niskanen had a career year for Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)
Matt Niskanen had a career year for Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)

More NHL Offseason: NHL rumors | Updating rumor mill | 2014-15 preseason odds

The amount of potential free agents has been thinning out over the past few days with players re-signing but a few of this summer's big fish will still make it to the market. That includes Matt Niskanen.

All along it had the feeling that after a big season, the Penguins defenseman was going to not only hit free agency but be one of the headliners. But he had never fully committed to seeing what was there in free agency.

Until now, that is.

That comes from Niskanen's agent Neil Sheehy so that's as good as written in stone. Certainly that has to please Sheehy a little because Niskanen is going to get paaaaaaaid by some team desperate for defense.

The 27-year-old Minnesota native is coming off a career season in which he had 10 goals and 36 assists in the regular season with another two goals and seven assists in 13 playoff games. Further, he was vital in helping the Penguins absorb the losses of Paul Martin and Kris Letang through much of the season. In a contract year, it was the perfect time for his career year.

No doubt teams will be banging down Niskanen's doors in the coming days leading up to free agency as he is one of the prime players available (read into that and what that means for this free-agent group what you will).

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