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2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota brings back backup goalie Josh Harding for one year

Jul 14, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

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joshharding2.jpgApparently, the Minnesota Wild saw my post* about the players who might be worth an offer sheet this summer. The team announced that they signed Josh Harding to a one-year contract, although financial terms have not been disclosed by the team.

Update: Michael Russo reports that the Wild signed Harding to a one-year, $1.2 million deal. That’s a decent amount of coin for a backup, but I think it’s still a solid move for Minnesota.

* – I’m kidding.

Harding is generally considered one of the best backups in the NHL, although his contract year 09-10 campaign wasn’t too spectacular (9-12-0 record, 90.5 save percentage and 3.05 GAA). That’s probably because his career numbers are pretty stout for a backup; he has a 28-39-4 record but managed an above average 91.5 career save percentage and 2.66 GAA.

Now, I imagine that – aside from being a restricted free agent – the reason that he didn’t get much attention is because he’s never had a big workload. His career high for games played was 29 in 07-08 (his 25 starts in 09-10 were his second highest), not even half of a regular season. There may also be the perception that playing for the Wild might inflate his numbers.

Without seeing the salary details, I think this is a great move for Minnesota and a tough one for Harding. Then again, if the goalie market is better next year, it could be a nice deal for both parties. Still, this is the summer where goalie contracts shriveled up and it (appears) that Harding holds to that pattern.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Anderson (1664)
  2. B. Bishop (1601)
  3. M. Fleury (1536)
  4. D. Alfredsson (1490)
  5. J. Harding (1359)
  1. C. Price (1244)
  2. D. Setoguchi (1160)
  3. M. Staal (1160)
  4. A. Ekblad (1137)
  5. J. Giguere (1118)