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July 2, 2014 | 1:19am ET
Mitchell rejects Minnesota

The Minnesota Wild was hoping to lock up veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to a contract, but the two-time Stanley Cup champion opted out.

Mitchell, 37, ended up signing a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Florida Panthers after he turned down a deal from the Wild, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher was surprised at the deal Mitchell ended up signing with Florida, and was shocked at the amount of money being tossed around on the first day of free agency.

"I didn't expect this. Maybe I'm naive. We were consistently underbidding on a few other players, I'll tell you that," Fletcher jokingly told the Star-Tribune. "The prices caught me a little off guard for maybe what you would consider role players or bottom-of-the-lineup type players. But I definitely think some mistakes have been made today on some players, so I think we'll be a little bit patient and let things sort out."

The paper lists unrestricted free agent defensemen Anton Volchenkov, Doug Murray, Shane O'Brien and Cory Sarich are possible options for Fletcher and the Wild.

After signing left wing Thomas Vanek to a three-year, $19.5 million contract, the Wild has roughly $13.4 million in available salary cap space.

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