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Minnesota signs Matt Cooke: three years, $7.5 million

Jul 5, 2013, 7:42 PM EDT

Matt Cooke Getty Images

So this is what the Wild were clearing space for.

Just moments after sending Devin Setoguchi to Winnipeg, Minnesota announced it had come to terms with ex-Penguins forward Matt Cooke on a three-year, $7.5 million deal.

The contract carries an average annual cap hit of $2.5 million, a nice pay bump from the $1.8 he made with the Pens.

Cooke, 34, enjoyed a career revival in Pittsburgh over the last two seasons.

After earning a reputation as arguably the league’s dirtiest player thanks a number of violent on-ice incidents — the Marc Savard hit; two suspensions in 2011, including the entire opening playoff round — Cooke vowed to change his game and did exactly that during the 2011-12 season.

He went incident-free, racked up just 44 PIM (he had 129 the year prior) and, perhaps most impressively, scored a career-high 19 goals — all at the age of 33.

Last year, Cooke had 21 points in 48 games and four in 15 postseason games, averaging over 15 minutes per night.

In Minnesota, he’ll likely reprise the role Cal Clutterbuck — now with the Islanders — played over the last few seasons.

  1. jaybaileys - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Wow 2.5?

    • jpelle82 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      he was making 1.8 with pitt and was worth every penny. he deserved a raise, he did big things NOT playing with malkin and crosby, great utility guy and a number 1 pk forward.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        pretty sure he had 20 goals a season or two before this year, not playing pp minutes either

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      I love this signing.. just think on how intimidating he will be on the ice to the opposing teams and who knows they could make mistakes just thinking about getting hit by him
      He has cleaned up his act in the last couple of years and I always did like him.
      The hit on Karlsson was not intentional, i watched that film over 500 times and he did not do it on purpose….
      I just dont understand how the Wild fans can be so upset about Cullen going elesewhere
      Here is my view on Cullen he wanted 3.5 mil a year, he is going to be 37 yrs old in Nov
      he has been playing for almost 17 years in the NHL. I am sure he has socked plenty of money for a rainy day for his family.
      If he wanted to stay and play for the Wild, why didnt he take a pay cut for just one year until the Wild had 25 mil to spend next year and he could have been resigned for anoither 2 years at a higher salary as the wild had only 3 mil in cap salary

      I doubt that He is that poor that one year of not making 3.5 mil a year would have hurt his bank account???? It was nothing but greed and pride… go to NSH BUY SUTERS HOUSE
      and listen to hill-billy music
      As far as Seto, he was going to be a UFA next year so they had to get something for him before he set out on his own and the wild would get zero…

    • erniecohen - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      Cooke has 26.1 GVT for the past three years. Clowe has 21.6 and is getting $5M/year. Horton, 17.8. Scuderi 16.1.

      I wish PIT had kept Cooke instead of signing Scuderi.

  2. sjsharks66 - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    What a steal. This guy can play. Despite his terrible history, he has everything a team needs.

  3. ironcity6pak - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    I’m really going to miss cook, I loved this dude in Pitt and he really did change his ways. I wish him well in Min.

  4. damyourestupid - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Good luck to you, cooke, thanks for the effort.

  5. valarmorghuliss - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    He’s an jerk till he’s your jerk

  6. chazxcore - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Wow, that’s quite a pay raise for him. Pretty shocked.

  7. orangandblack - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Incident free? Didn’t he slice girlie-mans Achilles?

  8. chanceoffleury1 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Just glad he signed in the West! Wasn’t looking forward to him potentially signing somewhere in the new Atlantic division so the Pens would have to face him a million times a year. Hate to see him go, but it was a good move for the Pens. He ran his course here in Pittsburgh and it was just time to go.

  9. porkchopexpress1969 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Cheap bastard. Just another reason to hate the Wild

  10. bruinpred - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    The good news is that I won’t have to sell my Pens tix when they come to town so I can see Crosby and Malkin. The bad news is I have to sell my Wild tix and I won’t get much for them. I wouldn’t pay a red cent to see that d-bag. Cooke is an A**hole who shouldn’t be in the league. “Reforming” out of necessity doesn’t change the heart of the man. He’s ruined a career and should have been banished forever. I’m glad Craig signed him – they deserve each other.

    • burgh916 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      Sheesh buddy missing out on NHL games because of one guy? Learn to forget… I’ll take the tickets gladly 😀

    • drone501 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      i sense some hard feeling here.

  11. 950003cups - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Hate that guy. Let him spend his days taking cheap shots at players out west.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      His first team was Vancouver so been there done that. Cooke actually played a minor role in the Bertuzzi/Moore situation, Cooke had challenged Moore to a fight early in the game so Moore could “answer” the ridiculous code, Moore beat up Cooke.

      • alswingman - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:22 PM

        Nope. Cooke fell backwards at the end but clearly won that duel. This is actually the best I have seen Cooke fight so he must have been confident. Every other fight he’s in he tries to circle and not engage unless he catches the guy on first punch.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:57 AM

        Not a big loss by any means, but I distinctly remember in the days afterwards hearing that part of Bertuzzi’s motivation was that he was upset that Moore didn’t pay the price in the fight.

        Of course either way it was more just a curious observation, he obviously had a very small role in the Naslund-Moore-Bertuzzi drama.

  12. cheesesteak75 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Was one of the best players for the Pens in the playoffs this year. Best of luck Cookie!

  13. txhockeydad - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    From a long time Wild fan…..I hate this player, and I hate my team for bringing him aboard. Whatever skill he brings is eclipsed by his douchbaggary. No honor, no class. He spits in the face of the hockey “code”. Can’t believe we lost guys like Cully, Gouch and Butch for this ass clown.

    • caniac4ever - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      I agree. They should have kept Cullen, who is one of the most consistent, dependable 3rd line checking centers in the league. I’m not a fan of Cooke and his careless, dangerous style of play.

  14. peopletrains - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Love my Wild and wanted them to get an Andrew Shaw type agitator, but not Cooke. There’s a difference between a guy who is just a pain in the ass to play against (Shaw) and someone who plays dirty (Cooke)… Hope his shenanigans are behind him.

  15. katyhockeymom - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Bad, bad, bad. I’ve been a Wild fan for ten years and I’ve never been more disappointed. And we know about disappointment.
    Cooke should have been banned from hockey forever. I cannot and will not accept or root for this guy, and I’m furious that he gets to wear a Wild sweater.
    And don’t compare him to Cal. Clutterbuck may have a big mouth, and he is an intense, physical player, but he is never dirty. Cooke’s MO is hurting people and then acting like he didn’t mean to.
    He’s everything wrong with hockey, everything people who don’t understand the sport think it’s about, everything that needs to change. I don’t care if he scores fifty goals and single-handedly builds a children’s hospital; this is a bad acquisition.

    • mmmpierogi - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      I take it you’re married to txhockeydad?

      • katyhockeymom - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:25 AM

        No, I wouldn’t marry a guy who can’t correctly spell “douchebaggery”.

    • bardown66 - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      get over it, great guy on the pk and tough as nails. yeah he has a history, he is a solid player. FYI it wasnt even his hit that put the nail in the coffin of savard’s career

      • gallyhatch - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        Bardown66, are you really that stupid?

  16. bobc74 - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Makes sense. Both the Wild GM and Head Coach used to be staff members in Pittsburgh.

  17. northstarnic - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Fletcher and the Wild suck. Cullen and Seto were our best offensive pairing on many nights. Cooke is one of the most despicable characters in the NHL. It’s a sad day in Minnesota. And the Blackhawks have a new full-time fan.

  18. damyourestupid - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    You sound like a fan the Blackhawks will be glad to have.

  19. Steeley McBeam - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Great we lost the 2 guys with the biggest hearts — TK and Cooke. The one thing the Pens missed last year in the playoffs was emotion and hustle. But you were damn sure Cooke and Kennedy were busting their ass every chance they got. Terrible hockey players but I loved them while they were pens.

  20. bruinpred - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    The patient, intelligent Wild fan base just got screwed royally. There is no other way to look at it. They are paying a felon’s salary and have to watch that pr*ck at least until he gets suspended.

  21. northstarnic - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Okay. (Deep breath.). Not a full time Hawks convert. But my local team has definitely dropped several rungs.
    Nice to read some positive comments regarding Cooke. Not that I believe it.
    Wild lost A LOT in those two. Seto stays in the division and will make the Wild regret this in a major way.
    Cullen is a MN native who exudes class on and off the ice. Fan favorite. In spite of his age, works his tail off and was a bright spot in the often frustrating situation that is the MN Wild.

  22. migoli - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    All you crying wild fans are embarrassing the rest of us. Cooke is solid, Get over the past!

    • getadealdonealready - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      No crying, just feel there is a right and wrong way to play the game. Pick up the book “The Code”. This classless bum falls on the wrong side of the unwritten rules of the game. He can pretend he has changed but I can pull up the tape of him stepping on Karlsson’s leg. So he is a 3rd line wing, who can PK, that wasn’t our downfall, it was the inability to create PP goals, and create space for our small F’s.

      Fletchers last couple moves are starting to look more like the Leddy trade then the Coyle trade.

  23. caniac4ever - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    When SJS plays Minny, Torres and Cooke + games suspended divided by 2, times.082

  24. blue21c - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Matt Cooke is a SCUMBAG!!!!!!

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