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Wild sign Joel Eriksson Ek to eight-year, $42 million contract

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild
Apr 16, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) attempts to shoot the puck as San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) defends him during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Eriksson Ek was rewarded for his standout season on Friday.

The center, who was a restricted free agent, signed an eight-year, $42 million contract with the Wild that will run through the 2028-29 season. The average annual value of the contract is $5.25 million.

Eriksson Ek, 24, had a career-high 30 points in 56 games this season, including 19 goals. He also set career highs in goals, plus/minus rating (plus-16) and time on ice per game (17:03). Eriksson Ek led the Wild in faceoff wins (395), was second in hits (105), and third in goals and shots (119). He spent much of the pandemic-shortened season playing on a line with wingers Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno.

Eriksson Ek’s signing leaves winger Kevin Fiala as the Wild’s only restricted free agent. Winger Kirill Kaprizov, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year this season, also needs a new contract but he doesn’t have the necessary service time to be eligible to receive an offer sheet from another team.