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Wild lock up forward Coyle, host Coyotes

by Dan Myers

COYOTES (2-2-1) at WILD (2-2-0)


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild locked up another piece of their future Wednesday when they signed forward Charlie Coyle to a five-year contract extension. The new contract is worth $16 million and has an average annual value of $3.2 million, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Coyle is in his second full NHL season, and has one goal and one assist in four games. He had 12 goals and 30 points in 70 games last season and had three goals in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I'm really excited just to move forward with this organization," Coyle said. "Obviously I'm happy with where I am now. It's nice to know I'm going to be here for the next five years and playing with this team."

Coyle's entry-level contract will expire after this season, and he was to be one of several players the Wild view as a part of their core to be restricted free agents.

One of those players, defenseman Jonas Brodin, signed a six-year contract extension Oct. 12. With Coyle signed, the Wild will turn their attention to forwards Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula, and defensemen Marco Scandella and Christian Folin.

Coyle said the Brodin contract reinforced in his mind his desire to stay in Minnesota long term.

"You always see how other guys did and what they're doing," Coyle said. "With the young guys we have on our team, I think it's in everybody's mind that we all want to move forward with each other."

The Wild have made the playoffs in each of Coyle's two seasons. Minnesota was the 15th-youngest team in the League last season with an average age of 27.4. They are the 10th-youngest this season at just over 27.

"We want to keep this core group going. We have a good group in the locker room, with the older guys that we have," Coyle said. "With the younger guys, it's nice to go through this stuff with them."

Minnesota begins a two-game homestand Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal is the only injury of note for either team. Hanzal sustained a lower-body injury against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. He missed the game Tuesday against the Nashville Predators and is not in Minnesota.

Keith Ballard and Folin were announced Wednesday as Minnesota's third defensive pairing, but each arrived to the rink Thursday feeling "under the weather," according to Wild coach Mike Yeo. Both were sent home and are not expected to play against Arizona.

Minnesota carries eight defensemen on its active roster so there's no need to make an emergency call-up. Matt Dumba and Nate Prosser are expected to be in the lineup.

Here are the projected lineups:


Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Martin Erat - Sam Gagner - Lauri Korpikoski

Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle Chipchura - David Moss

Brandon McMillan - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

David Schlemko - Zbynek Michalek

Mike Smith

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Chris Summers

Injured: Martin Hanzal (lower body)


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Thomas Vanek - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Justin Fontaine - Erik Haula - Nino Niederreiter

Jason Zucker - Ryan Carter - Matt Cooke

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Matt Dumba - Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Kyle Brodziak, Keith Ballard, Christian Folin

Injured: Josh Harding (fractured foot)

Status report: The Coyotes are expected to skate the same lineup they did Tuesday against Nashville. ... Brodziak will be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.

Who's hot: Boedker has five goals in five games, including a hat trick Oct. 15 against the Edmonton Oilers. He scored a goal in each game against the Wild last season. … Minnesota scored one goal each night against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings last Friday and Sunday. Carter assisted on each of them.

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