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Koivu, Bouchard among 13 to Houston

The Minnesota Wild on Friday announced the assignment of the following players to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League: goaltenders Josh Harding and Kyle Kettles; centers Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Marc Cavosie, Mikko Koivu and Rickard Wallin, left wings Derek Boogaard and Mark Rooneem; right wing Matt Foy; and defensemen Chris Heid, Zbynek Michalek, Erik Reitz and Ryan Stokes.

Koivu and Bouchard are former first-round draft picks of the Wild, and the Aeros’ training camp roster now includes seven of Minnesota’s top 10 prospects, according to The Hockey News rankings.

Koivu, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound 21-year-old younger brother of Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, is coming off an appearance for runner-up Finland in the World Cup of Hockey. Koivu is the Wild’s No. 1 rated prospect and was picked sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Bouchard, 20, has spent the last two seasons with Minnesota and was the youngest player on the Wild’s roster when the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2003. Bouchard was selected No. 8 by the Wild in 2002.

Coming to the Aeros from Canada’s 2004 World Junior Team is Harding, who at 38th overall was Minnesota’s highest ever goalie selection in the 2002 Draft. Harding, 20, was the 2002-03 Western Hockey League Player of the Year and had a 2.41 GAA in junior last season.

The Aeros open their 2004-05 training camp on Sept. 27.