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12-22-2009, 07:54 PM
  #40
The Black1963
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http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2232341

Balmy Los Angeles may seem to have little in common with the North Pole.

And Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi may bear very little resemblance to Old Saint Nick.

But to Soo Greyhounds defenceman Jake Muzzin, it must have seemed that Christmas had come early this past Friday, when he agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL's Kings.

"It's been a good start to the season for me," said Muzzin, the Hounds 20-year-old captain, who leads all Ontario Hockey League defencemen with 41 points in 34 games. "And teams have noticed.

"I didn't expect this to happen this early, so I'm a little surprised that way, but I've been working hard for this, so it feels good."

Muzzin's deal won't be formalized or signed until after Jan. 1, in order to take advantage of favourable terms in the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement regarding future arbitration rights.

Muzzin said he expects to sign his new deal on or about Jan. 2.

Reached at his family home in Woodstock, Ont. Monday evening, the six-foot-two, 216-pound blue-liner was unwilling to disclose his salary. But he confirmed his contract will be a two-way deal, between the Kings and their top minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.

He'll return to the Hounds following the Christmas break, but if their season finishes before that of the Monarchs, he'll likely be called up to the American Hockey League club.

Former teammate Andrew Campbell, a third-round pick of the Kings in 2008, plays in Manchester.

Campbell and Jordan Nolan, the Kings' seventh-round choice in the 2009 draft, helped sell Muzzin on LA.

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