ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -Center James Sheppard signed with the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, meaning the 2006 first-round draft pick will be on the ice opening night instead of returning to his junior team in Nova Scotia.
The 19-year-old Sheppard had 33 goals and 63 assists in 56 games with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. He was the ninth overall pick in 2006 and has one assist in three preseason games for the Wild this year.
``We're pleased with James' development since we drafted him in the summer of 2006 and we feel that his development will be best served by being on our club,'' general manager Doug Risebrough said in a statement.
The Wild also assigned defensemen Shawn Belle and John Scott and forwards Benoit Pouliot and Petr Kalus to Houston of the AHL.

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