The NHL Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins went the free-agent route to replace agitator Jarkko Ruutu on Saturday, signing forward Matt Cooke to a two-year contract worth $2.4 million US.

The Penguins had offered Ruutu a two-year deal earlier this week, but he chose to ink a three-year pact with the Ottawa Senators.

Washington acquired Cooke, who collected 91 penalty minutes in 78 games in the 2007-08 season, from Vancouver at the trade deadline for fellow left-winger Matt Pettinger.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder totalled 10 goals and 23 points and will make $1.2 million in each of the 2008-09 and '09-'10 seasons.

Cooke, who will turn 30 before next season begins, has 86 goals and 124 assists for 210 points, and 652 penalty minutes, in 583 NHL games.