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Minnesota signs Matt Cooke: three years, $7.5 million

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Three

UNIONDALE, NY - MAY 05: Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins argues a call in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 5, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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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.