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Wild Signs Mitchell, Konopka

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

The Wild has agreed to terms with two forwards on the first day of NHL free agency, Torrey Mitchell and Zenon Konopka.

Minnesota has agreed to terms with Mitchell for three years and Konopka for two seasons.

Mitchell comes to the State of Hockey after playing with the San Jose Sharks his entire career. The Greeenfield Park, Quebec native has skated in 280 NHL games, totaling 73 points (30-43=73). At 27 years old, Mitchell has played with the Sharks for four seasons, missing the 2008-09 campaign with an injury. He has seen action in 55 playoff games with San Jose, totaling 11 points (2-9=11) over five post-seasons.

"Torrey Mitchell has tremendous speed and is able to create a lot of havoc on the forecheck," Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We felt that his speed would potentially make that third line hard to play against."

"The biggest part of my game is my speed," Mitchell said. "I've got to use my speed to create offense, but at the same time be a penalty kill guy and a reliable on the third line and hopefully chip in offensively."

Before skating for the Sharks, the 5-foot-11 winger played at the University of Vermont for three years. Mitchell is a versatile right-handed shooter who can play on either wing or center.

Konopka was one of the toughest free agents on the market.

Konopka told TSN that he believes he will be a great fit with the Wild organization. The punishing forward is a character player who plays a physical game. In 250 career games, the 6-foot forward has racked up 877 penalty minutes.

"Konopka is a guy who makes us harder to play against with his size and toughness," Fletcher said. "(He) gives us a little more depth down the middle." 

The 31-year-old is a seven-year NHL veteran, who made his debut with the Anaheim Ducks in 2005-06. Konopka scored his first career goal against the Wild and Manny Fernandez on Nov. 6, 2005.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the hockey knowledge in Minnesota and it's been a lot of fun coming there to play against the Wild," Konopka said. "It's going to be a lot easier being on the home side, rather than the opponent side."

Last season, he skated with the Ottawa Senators appearing in 55 games, tallying five points (3-2=5) and ranked third in the NHL with 193 penalty minutes. He also won 58.9 percent of his faceoffs, ranking fifth in the NHL amongst players with 250 or more faceoffs.

The Niagara on the Lake, Ont., native was a part of the Ottawa 67’s Memorial Cup-winning team in 1999.

Fletcher said that he wants the club to be harder to play against, something both Konopka and Mitchell can help with.

"Strengthening our third and fourth lines was something we wanted to do," Fletcher said. "We've gone into the summer with the goal of improving our depth."

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