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Bobby Smith, who set a Minnesota scoring record with...

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Bobby Smith, who set a Minnesota scoring record with 114 points last season, signed a seven-year contract Monday with the North Stars for a reported $3 million.

The signing concluded three months of intense negotiations.

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'I was starting to resign myself to the fact that maybe I wouldn't be with the North Stars, although that's where I always wanted to be,' said the 24-year-old center. 'This is the goal I wanted to reach -- to finalize negotiations with the North Stars. I'm really happy.'

Minnesota team owner John Kerr said that he was happy to have Smith under contract for seven years. Last month, the North Stars also signed All-Star defenseman Craig Hartsburg to a seven-year contract.

Smith threatened to play in Europe if he didn't get the right contract, but he couldn't hide his bias toward the North Stars or the Twin Cities.

'It was apparent to the North Stars I wanted to stay here. I couldn't bluff them,' Smith said. 'But I had to put a price on the area. I couldn't give up too much to stay here.'

The contract, which includes several performance bonuses, makes Smith the highest-paid player in North Stars history and one of the highest-paid in the NHL.

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'Now I have to continue playing at a high level, exceed the accomplishments of the past and help the team win the Stanley Cup,' he said. 'And I'm very confident that all those things will happen.'

The big contract may put mori pressure on him, but he says he's used to that.

'There's always been a lot of pressure on me, from the first game I played with the North Stars,' said Smith, Minnesota's No. 1 draft choice in 1978. 'The biggest source of pressure is myself.'

The rangy center won Rookie of the Year honors in 1978-79 and has amassed 365 points, including 129 goals, in his young career. But Smith is not satisfied.

'I'm intent on becoming a better hockey player than I've been in the first four years,' he said. 'If someone is a better player than me, it's going to be because they have mori talent,not because they work harder.'

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