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Niederreiter, Wild agree to three-year contract

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Restricted free agent forward Nino Niederreiter has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild, the team announced Thursday. No financial terms were disclosed, but Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported it's worth $8 million.

Niederreiter, 22, had career bests of 14 goals, 22 assists and 36 points playing 81 games. He had three goals and three assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

He had his biggest moment in Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round against the Colorado Avalanche, when his second goal, at 5:07 of overtime, gave the Wild its first postseason series victory since 2003.

"I was kind of worried towards the end (of the contract talks). I was kind of getting nervous," Niederreiter told the Wild website. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I'm very happy to be a part of the Wild again and I'm just really excited to get it going."

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Niederreiter was offered a contract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League, which the forward confirmed Thursday.

"My goal was to always play in the National Hockey League," Niederreiter said. "It's the best League in the world and hopefully it always will be. But at the same time, as close as you get to the season, you just want to play hockey. It was good to have at least a contract where you could potentially sign somewhere. It was just kind of something in your back pocket that you knew, 'OK, if everything goes south, there is an option.' But at the end of the day, I was always hoping that I would have a chance to sign with Minnesota. That day came and I'm very happy to be a part of it again."

Niederreiter, selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, has 16 goals and 39 points in 145 NHL games with the Islanders and Wild, who acquired him in a trade at the 2013 draft.

Niederreiter admitted not having a contract for 2014-15 and beyond was weighing on him.

"Last year was tough … you were thinking a lot about the contract and what was going to happen next year and the year after that," Niederreiter said. "I'm very relieved to have the chance to be there for three years and now I can just really focus on playing hockey and I don't have to worry about the contract situation."

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