The prodigal son has returned. Sort of.
The Penguins signed Richard Park to a one-year, two-way deal, the team announced on Wednesday.
Park, a former second round pick of the Penguins in 1994 (one spot ahead of Patrick Elias), spent last season playing with Swiss side Genève-Servette HC, scoring 34 points in 47 games.
Park had trouble making his mark while a member of the Penguins, featuring in only 58 games with the Penguins over three seasons and scoring 11 points in the process.
Park became a journeyman after leaving the Penguins, making stops in Anaheim, Philadelphia and an assortment of minor league teams in between.
Park finally became an NHL regular with the Minnesota Wild in 2001-02. After three years of solid service with the Wild, he signed with the Vancouver Canucks and then, a year later, with the New York Islanders.
Park would become the Islanders’ top penalty killer by the time he left, logging over 50 more minutes than the next closest killer on the team in 2009-10. Coupled with putting up 30+ points each season, Park had become a useful checking line forward.
While Park’s contract is only set to run for a year, and is safe with a two-way structure, Dan Bylsma and co. will probably hope for the Penguins’ one-time prospect to make the team and alleviate some of the pressure placed on the penalty killing unit after Maxime Talbot’s departure.
Perhaps most notable about Park is that he’s only the second native Korean to reach the NHL. The first was former Penguins defenseman Jim Paek.