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Miettinen signs three-year contract with Wild

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The Canadian Press
7/3/2008 6:49:54 PM
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The Minnesota Wild signed right wing Antti Miettinen to a three-year contract Thursday, adding a two-way, third-line forward at the end of an up-and-down week.

Miettinen's deal was done on his 28th birthday, after he scored a career-high 15 goals to go with 19 assists in 69 games last season for the Dallas Stars. The six-foot, 190-pound former star of the Finnish Elite League is a hard hitter who is versatile enough to contribute on special teams. He spent 3 1/2 years with the Stars.

"He's a complete player," general manager Doug Risebrough said. "He's not a big guy, but he plays physical."

Though the Wild brought back popular winger Andrew Brunette and traded for potent defenceman Marek Zidlicky this week, they were stung by the departure of stalwart Brian Rolston to the New Jersey Devils and were unsuccessful in their pursuit of a few other high-profile free agents - most notably Marian Hossa.

Risebrough said he was unlikely to make any more moves for the moment. He'll soon turn his attention to addressing Marian Gaborik's contract situation. The two-time All-Star and leading scorer in the franchise's seven seasons is entering the final year of his deal.

"Our intention is to sign Marian. He says he wants to be back, and that's good," Risebrough said. "We've just got to figure out how we do that."

Gaborik and Risebrough each talked to Hossa in an attempt to lure him to Minnesota, but the Slovak star chose a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Wild have two restricted free agent forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Stephane Veilleux who could be headed for arbitration. Bouchard, the team's first-round draft pick in 2002, dropped from a career-best 20 goals in 2006-07 to 13 last season. He has yet to receive a multi-year contract, and it's not certain that he will.

"In the past, I've been happy to have a one-year deal. This year I'd be happier to have a long-term contract. Butch has proven to us he deserves a long-term contract," Risebrough said, indicating that he's only interested in committing to Bouchard with a cap-friendly deal that maintains future flexibility.

With essentially two roster spots open for forwards, Risebrough said he wants to let some of the organization's top prospects fight for that in training camp.

"We think it's probably more prudent right now to go with what we've got," he said.

Antti Miettinen (Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
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