The Minnesota Wild, after making the biggest splash on the free-agent market last year with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, made a smaller, but no less surprising signing Friday. The team announced it signed Matt Cooke to a three-year, $7.5-million deal.
Cooke is best known for his agitating, play-on-the-edge style. This deal from Minnesota, which will pay the 34-year-old winger $2.5 million annually, is a raise from his last contract with Pittsburgh.
The Wild may have felt they had to replace some grit after shipping out Cal Clutterbuck recently.
Cooke has toned down his shenanigans somewhat, but also has some ability to produce. In fact, since he's focused more on playing as opposed to maiming, Cooke has seen his point production rise slightly with Pittsburgh.
Ever the lightning rod for controversy, Cooke posted 21 points in 48 games with the Penguins last year.
Among the other benefits Cooke will bring to Minnesota is his wealth of playoff experience on a relatively young team.
That said, a three-year deal at $2.5 million annually seems a tad rich for a 34-year-old agitator. There's no telling if he'll be able to match his point production from Pittsburgh on a new club and there will always be concern regarding penalties and suspensions.