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NHL Star Dustin Penner I Need to Settle My Divorce FOR THE SAKE OF MY HOCKEY CAREER!

9/16/2013 12:30 AM PDT

Anaheim Ducks star Dustin Penner begged a judge to sign off on his divorce from his hot actress wife ASAP ... claiming the legal war is messing with his head and distracting him from playing like the kind of guy who deserves a FAT contract, TMZ has learned.

We broke the story, Penner -- who killed it for the L.A. Kings during their Stanley Cup run back in 2012 -- was hit with divorce papers from Jessica Welch last year.  She's an actress who once appeared in an episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark."

After splitting in February '12, Penner and Welch banged out a settlement agreement and submitted it to the court -- but the case dragged on for more than a year.

So last month, Penner submitted a plea to the judge ... begging him to sign off on the divorce as soon as possible because the stress from the split could affect his game ... which could ultimately affect his wallet.

In the court docs, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Penner writes ... "I am 30 years old. It is important for me psychologically to enter the upcoming season with this dissolution finally behind me so I can try to secure a multi-year contract."

He adds, "Training camp starts September 21st and I would like to have this matter completed before then."

Penner's wish was finally granted on September 9th -- so if he has a crappy season with the Ducks this year, he's all out of excuses.
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