Wild re-sign Niklas Backstrom
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom's breakout season has earned him a multi-year contract with the Minnesota Wild.
The 29-year-old Backstrom was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Terms of the deal were not released by the club, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported it was a two-year, $6.2-million US deal with a no-trade clause in the first year.
The Finnish netminder earned $750,000 US for his impressive first season in the NHL.
He posted a 23-8-6 record with five shutouts and a 1.97 goals-against average in 41 games.
Backstrom gave up just 11 goals in five games in the opening round of the playoffs against Anaheim, but his teammates could not provide much offenceas the Wild were eliminated.
"Niklas' character, his ability to adapt to the NHL and to a changing role, and his steadiness of play made him an increasingly valuable piece of our team," said Wild general manager Doug Risebrough in a release.
"Since Day 1, goaltending has been the foundation of our team and, with Niklas re-signed, we are confident that position will remain one of depth."
Backstrom and Manny Fernandez were officially awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy in Ottawa last Saturday.
The Wild had a paltry 2.20 goals-against average, the lowest total in the league.
"I never would have believed that we, or I, could be here together with Manny," Backstrom said at the time.
"I had to fight for a spot on the team and after that, of course, [for] playing time. It's been a great time."
Backstrom spent a decade playing in Europe, with Helsinki and Karpat in the Finnish league, along with one season with Solna in the Swedish Elite league.
Backstrom was a backup onFinland's 2006 Olympic silver medal team.
Backstrom's deal could signal the end of the 32-year-old Fernandez's tenure after six seasons with the Wild.
Fernandez stands to earn $4.3 million US nextseason, with theteam also having Josh Harding under contract.
Harding, a 22-year-old Regina native, appeared in seven games for Minnesota with a 1.16 GAVG and had a strong season with Houston in the American Hockey League, his third with the Aeros.
With files from the Associated Press