The Minnesota Wild definitively ended any speculation they might be shopping their number one goalie before tomorrow’s trade deadline by signing the Finnish netminder to a lucrative 4 year, 24 million dollar contract. Rumors had been circulating that the 31 year old goalie had been on the block, and that the Wild brass felt that any goaltender would be able to put up similar numbers to Backstrom’s under coach Jacques Lemaire’s stingy defensive system. With the 24 million dollar signing, however, it is clear that Minnesota Wild management see Backstrom as one of the elite goaltenders in the league.
Backstrom’s numbers certainly back up this belief. He has won more than twice as many games as he has lost in his 3 years with the Wild, going 84-39-18 over that span, and his sparkling .924 save percentage further dispels the notion that he might not be as good as his miniscule 2.19 GAA implies. Remember, there used to be a lot of folks who said Martin Brodeur was also the beneficiary of playing for a Jacques Lemaire coached team. Well, Lemaire has been out of New Jersey for quite some time now, and Brodeur has done just swimmingly without him.
So yet another potential trade down the tubes. Will we see any action at all leading up to tomorrow’s trade deadline, or are the tight playoff races, combined with the salary cap issues most clubs face going to make this trade deadline a dud. Here’s hoping we see at least one two big deals to keep all of us armchair GMs interested, and TSN’s insane 12 hours of coverage worth watching.