New deal gives Gillies strong shot with Wild

  • Article by: STAFF and NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: July 6, 2011 - 9:44 PM

Colton Gillies got a taste of the NHL in his rookie season of 2007-08 and wants to return for good in 2011-12.

Photo: Jim Mone, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Colton Gillies probably doesn't need to renew his lease in Houston.

The 2007 first-round draft pick, who already had the inside track to a job on the Wild next season, signed a contract Wednesday that makes a spot in Minnesota even more of a possibility.

Gillies' two-year, $1.25 million pact is a one-way contract, meaning he would have to be paid his $600,000 NHL salary in the minors if he were to play there next season.

A contract like that typically means the player is penciled into an NHL job. The 6-4, 208-pounder from just outside Vancouver is a hard-hitting, fast, character forward who developed dramatically last season in Houston of the AHL under Mike Yeo, who is now the Wild's coach.

Gillies scored seven goals in the AHL playoffs, which tied for first on the Aeros. Gillies also impressed as a late-season callup for the Wild last season.

He scored seven points in 45 games as a Wild rookie in 2008-09 before spending the past two seasons in Houston.

"It's exciting. All I really want is an opportunity, and this is a chance, and I've just got to make the best of it and show them I can be that player they need me to be," Gillies said. "Nothing's set in stone. I've got to earn my spot."

MICHAEL RUSSO

 

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