Wild forsake rights to former Michigan State star Thelen

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild relinquished their
rights to 2004 first-round draft pick A.J. Thelen on Friday after
being unable to sign him to a contract.

The Wild chose the 6-foot-3 defenseman from Savage with the 12th
overall pick in the 2004 draft. He was coming off a stellar
freshman season at Michigan State, where he was named second-team

But Thelen ran into trouble at the school and was kicked off the
hockey team after being caught drinking underage.

He spent the next two years in Canada's Western Hockey League,
where he helped the Vancouver Giants win the Memorial Cup.

The Wild had until Friday to sign him to a deal or forfeit his
rights. The Wild will receive the 42nd overall pick in July's NHL
Entry Draft as compensation.

The Wild also failed to get deals done with two 2005 draft picks
-- third-round goaltender Kristofer Westblom and fourth-round center
Kyle Bailey.