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Both players get $1.775M, 1-year deals

8/12/2004

Minnesota Wild: Minnesota avoided arbitration with left wing Andrew Brunette and defenseman Willie Mitchell by re-signing both players to one-year, $1.775 million contracts on
Thursday.

Brunette, 30, ranked first on the team with 34 assists and
second with 49 points last year and played in all 82 regular-season
games for the second consecutive season. He also led the Wild with
seven power-play goals and 19 power-play points.

Mitchell, 27, set career highs last season in games played (70),
assists (13) and points (14). He also had 83 penalty minutes.

New Jersey Devils: New Jersey avoided
arbitration with Brian Rafalski, signing the veteran defenseman to
a one-year contract.

He was seeking a deal worth just under $4 million, but the
Devils had planned to offer him $2.8 million.

The two sides agreed on a $3.1 million contract late Wednesday,
a source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press on
condition of anonymity.

Rafalski played in 69 games this past season, amassing six goals
and 30 assists.

New York Islanders: Defenseman Janne Niinimaa agreed to terms on a three-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

The 29-year-old Finland native had nine goals and 19 assists for
the Islanders last season.

"We were hoping to get Janne signed for a few years because we
love the intensity he brings every moment he's at the rink,"
Islanders GM Mike Milbury said in a statement. "I'm glad we were
able to go long-term, without the arbitration process, and come
together on a fair deal."

Niinimaa was acquired March 11, 2003, from Edmonton for Brad
Isbister and Raffi Torres. He has 51 goals and 249 assists over his
10-year NHL career with Philadelphia, Edmonton and New York.

Phoenix Coyotes: Center Mike Comrie signed a two-year contract.

Comrie, 24, split last season between Philadelphia and Phoenix,
scoring 12 goals over 49 games.

Phoenix acquired Comrie on Feb. 9 from the Flyers in exchange
for goaltender Sean Burke, right wing Branko Radivojevic and the
rights to unsigned draft choice Ben Eager.

Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia re-signed defenseman
Mattias Timander to a two-year deal.

Timander, 30, scored two goals and five assists in 39 games for
the Flyers and Islanders last season. He was acquired by
the Flyers in January in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the
2004 draft.

Timander has 13 goals and 57 assists in 419 games in his
eight-year NHL career.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.