The Minnesota Wild added some grit to their lineup Friday when they signed forward Matt Cooke to a three-year contract worth $7.5 million.
Cooke, 34, had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and 36 penalty minutes in 48 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13. He led team forwards with 41 blocked shots, ranked second among team forwards in shorthanded minutes per game at 2:11, and ranked fifth on Pittsburgh with 97 hits.
The reality, though, is that he is a capable, useful winger. He's an effective forechecker, works diligently in his own end and is an integral member of what was the NHL's top penalty-killing unit last season.
Expect a slightly neutered Cooke this season following another controversial campaign full of cheap shots and checks from behind. Last season he scored 12 goals and 30 points through 67 games adding 129 PIM. He could be a useful player in deeper leagues although the PIM probably take a hit.