Wild hope to retain Niklas Backstrom, according to GM
The Minnesota Wild are interested in retaining the services of goaltender Niklas Backstrom, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher as told to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Backstrom played out the final year of a four-year, $24 million contract in 2013 that carried an annual average value of $6 million against the salary cap. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to Fletcher, coming to terms with Backstrom is the club's No. 1 priority. The manager identified Backstrom as the clear-cut No. 1 goaltender on the Wild and a key piece to the team's success in 2013.
The 35-year-old goaltender expressed a similar desire to return to Minnesota. Russo states that Backstrom would need to take a pay cut -- in addition to receiving less term -- from his previous contract in order to remain with the Wild.
"I just want to be where I feel comfortable and enjoy playing. If they want to have me back, I can't see a reason why we couldn't work something out."
Russo also reports that the team is attempting to sign free agent goaltender Antti Raanta out of the Finnish Elite League. The 24-year-old netminder was the league's MVP last season and would be used to improve the Wild's organizational depth at the position.