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Wild Sign Thomas Vanek to a three-year deal

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Bruce Bennett

According to Michael Russo of the Startribune, the Minnesota wild have signed former Minnesota Golden Gopher and Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek to a three-year deal worth 19.5 million. That 's roughly 6.5 million a year.

Russo's Rants - The Austian-born left winger, who led the Gophers to a national championship 11 years ago and has settled in the Twin Cities, has agreed to a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Wild less than two hours into free agency.

He has a full no-move clause and left money and term on the table from other teams. He'll earn $5.5 million in 2014-15, $6.5 million in 2015-16 and $7.5 million in 2016-17. He'll wear No. 26.

Vanek, 30, the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft with the Buffalo Sabres, saw his stock fall during a tough postseason for the Montreal Canadiens, but he brings with him a history of goal scoring.

Since the start of 2005-06, Vanek has scored the eighth-most goals in the NHL (277 goals in 663 games), 556 points and is tied for 11th with 0.42 goals per game.

"He's always a threat when he has the puck, and when he doesn't have the puck, he always finds ways to get himself available," Jason Pominville said to me by phone yesterday. "He would step in and help our power play right away. As a net-front presence, he's always there with screens and always finds a way to get his stick on the puck.

During the past year, it had been rumored that Vanek wanted to return to Minnesota play for the Wild. Today, that came to fruition. Thoughts on this free agent signing?