The Minnesota Wild are reportedly gauging interest around the NHL in Niklas Backstrom. The Star Tribune states that the Wild may be willing to retain salary cap space in order to move Backstrom, but so far there haven’t been any named or rumored suitors.
In May, the Minnesota Wild announced that they’d be parting ways with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. That same report hinted that the Wild were considering carrying three goaltenders throughout 2014-15. Those three would be Backstrom, Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper – assuming the Wild give Kuemper a new contract. The idea was met with mixed reactions considering it would mean using a roster spot on a third goaltender, but it’s not completely crazy idea considering the injury history of the three goaltenders.
What does this mean for the Wild? For starters, a Backstrom trade would be the end of an era. That era was one with plenty of promise, but things never really panned out for either Backstrom or the Wild. Injuries derailed Backstrom numerous times, but now it appears he’s nearing good health and the Wild may look to part ways with the netminder while they can still fetch a decent return.
Kuemper still needs a new contract, but barring any surprised the club should be set to roll with Harding and Kuemper in net. Harding has had his own setbacks, but he was extremely strong in 2013-14, posting a 1.65 GAA in 29 games. Kuemper had a 2.43 GAA in 26 regular season games, but he saved his best for the playoffs (2.03 GAA in 6 games).
The Wild have one crowded crease. Unless they go back and decide to roll with three goaltenders, someone is going to be shown the door.