Pens bolster blue line with Skolney, Carkner

The Pittsburgh Penguins, parent club of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, have announced the signings of free-agent defensemen Wade Skolney and Matt Carkner.

Skolney, 25, appeared in 56 games with the Philadelphia Phantoms during the 2005-06 season, recording five assists and 197 penalty minutes. He also played in one game for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, making his NHL debut and going scoreless with two penalty minutes.

The 6-foot, 197-pound blueliner has appeared in 215 career AHL games with the Phantoms over the last four seasons, recording 31 points (3g, 28a) and 509 penalty minutes. Skolney was a member of the 2004-05 Phantoms team that captured the AHL’s Calder Cup championship.

Carkner, 25, had a career year offensively in 2005-06, his fifth season with the AHL’s Cleveland Barons. After totaling three goals and 31 points over his first four campaigns, Carkner notched 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points in 69 games for the Barons last year.

A 6-foot-4, 235-pound defenseman, Carkner has also registered 948 penalty minutes in his 315 career AHL games. He made his NHL debut in 2005-06, recording one assist and two PIM in one game with San Jose.

The native of Winchester, Ont., was originally selected in the second round (58th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by Montreal. The Sharks signed Carkner as a free agent on June 7, 2001.