Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Justin Fontaine files for arbitration

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: July 5, 2014 - 4:30 PM

Wild right wing Justin Fontaine was the only one of the Wild's restricted free agents to file for arbitration by today's 4 p.m. deadline. He's one of 20 to do so in the NHL.

Fontaine's agent, Neil Sheehy, will continue to try to negotiate a contract with the Wild. He can do so up until the hearing, which will be scheduled from July 20 to August 4 in Toronto in front of an independent arbitrator.

Most of the time, a contract is worked out prior to the hearing. By any player filing for arbitration, it ensures he can't be signed to an offer sheet by another club and it ensures no holdout from training camp.

Darcy Kuemper and Jon Blum, the Wild's other two restricted free agents with the right to file for arbitration, did not do so. Restricted free agents Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker don't have arbitration rights yet.

Fontaine, 26, tied for fourth on the Wild last season with 13 goals and tied for 12th amongst NHL rookies. His 13 goals were the third-most ever by a Wild rookie. He also had 21 points in 66 games, was plus-6 and had a goal and assist in 12 playoff games.

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