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Wild sign defenseman Clayton Stoner to two-year extension

By Brian Stubits | Hockey writer
Stoner was drafted in the third round by Minny in 2004. (Getty Images)

If there was one thing the Minnesota Wild did well last season, it was defend. So in that regard it makes sense to keep the blueliners around a little longer.

That's just what they are doing with Clayton Stoner, signing the defenseman to a two-year extension on Thursday. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the deal is worth $2.1 million.

Stoner doesn't have much offense to speak of -- then again, neither do the Wild -- scoring just one goal with four assists in 54 games this season. But that's not what his job is. But if you want stats and like that old plus/minus, he led Minnesota's defensemen at plus-3 (on a related note, plus-3 was the best among the D? Explains a lot).

Because of the injuries this season on the blue line, the Wild have 11 players on their roster on the back end according to Cap Geek. Of those 11, six of them need new contracts so obviously the Wild prioritized Stoner when it came to reaching deals.

This is just the start of things for Chuck Fletcher, the Wild GM. Before this signing, he only had 15 players under contract for next season. So he has some spots to fill and he has plenty of free agents within his organization to talk to first.

You just wonder how much Minnesota is going to be willing to roll with more or less the same lineup. The argument can certainly be made they were a team that was riddled with injuries, severely handicapping their roster and leading to their plunge in the second half of the season.

Of course that'd probably be betting on fool's gold, the numbers indicated it wasn't going to last for Minnesota. Trotting out the same group probably isn't the best solution for a remedy. Point is, Fletcher will likely have some room to bring in new players. But some of that room was taken away to squeeze in Stoner.

Now I'll just wait and see if Stoner will light it up next season with a new deal. Oh come on, you knew there had to be some lame joke in this post.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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