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Harding wants to stay in Minnesota as a starter, Backstrom may take issue with that

Jun 19, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Josh Harding AP

Minnesota backup goalie Josh Harding is hoping to one day be a starting goalie.

The impending unrestricted free agent might get that opportunity to be some team’s No. 1 guy on July 1, but he tells Michael Russo of The Star-Tribune he has one place in mind already where he wants to be the starter.

“I’m hoping we can get something worked out here soon,” said Harding, who turned 28 on Monday. “I’d love to be back here. It’s no secret I like Minnesota and I like being here. My goal since I was drafted [10 years ago] was to be a No. 1 goalie in Minnesota. I want to be a No. 1 goalie and if there’s a place and we can work something out, I’d love to stay.”

There’s one little catch about being the starter in Minnesota: Current starting goalie Niklas Backstrom.

Backstrom has one more year left on his contract with Minnesota and turns 35 soon. Harding is just 27 years-old and his time to prove he can be the top guy is upon him. Harding tells Russo that a one-year deal isn’t something that appeals to him.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has a tough call to make here as Backstrom’s been a solid player for Minnesota for years and Harding has shown, between injuries, that he’s a very good goalie. Is it time for a change? Fletcher has less than a couple weeks to figure that out.

  1. creasemasta41 - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Sign harding and trade backstrom, if theyre going to let one of their goalies go they might as well get some kind of return, and naturally with backstrom being the older guy he would be on his way out in 2 years anyways, so why not trade him now while he still has some value

    • lordfletcher - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Backstom is impossible to trade… and carries little to no value

      so that ends that/

      • creasemasta41 - Jun 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Backstrom could be traded for the right price, he had a .919 save percentage last year, which is impressive considering the defense he had in front of him. There is a market for experienced backups, a team like washington or tampa bay that has a young goalie looking to gain experience could benefit from him.

      • ThatGuy - Jun 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Backstrom WAS impossible to trade, when he had multiple years left.

        With only one year left, there are teams that would be willing to carry his 6 Million for a year and even more willing to take on the salary at the deadline.

        Although its possible he has a NTC, he had one when he signed that apparently was in effect as long as he meets the metrics of a number 1 goaltender. What those metrics are is unknown.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        If you guys want to believe that Backstrom can be traded, that’s fine… I just don’t see it happening. You let me know when it becomes a possibility, as for now, we have to ride out his contract and PMB’s till the end.

        As for Backstoms save pct. He had a .919% – Hackett was .922 and Harding .917. In other words, .919 wasn’t that impressive, it was the par.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 19, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        Backstrom does have a NTC, like everyone Risebrough signed. Yes, he makes 6 million a year, and no team will touch that. The only scenario I could see that happening is Luongo gets dealt, Schneider gets a embarrassingly high offer sheet and Vancouver doesn’t match. Then would the Wild trade Backstrom to a divisional rival? Not likely, but Fletcher has made trades with Edmonton.

        Long story short, no team wants Backstrom and his 6 mil cap hit.

        I would love to keep Harding here as a starter. But with Backstrom in the way, I guess he leaves, we sign a capable backup for 2 years, making him the backup this year, the starter next year, giving away to Hackett in 2 years.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        creasemasta41 / ThatGuy

        Not bashing, just asking a question. For what price and where do you think Backstrom could end up… I don’t want to hear “it’s possible that he gets traded”, what do you honestly think could happen. the market isn’t that big for Backstrom and his cap hit.

        The only possible destination I could see would be Toronto now that harding has been re-signed.

        Cheers boys :)

      • babykaby - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:49 PM

        @creasemasta41 The Caps don’t want him. If they were going to spend that kind of money on a veteran goalie they would have made an attempt to resign Vokoun. The Caps have their tandom in Nuevy and Holtby. The Caps need d-men in front of their goalie that can actually play d and don’t turn the puck over at the blue line.

  2. freneticgarfieldfan - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    “Harding, who turned 28 on Monday.”
    “Harding is just 27 years-old…”
    Joe, are you reading what you’re writing? 😉

  3. sknut - Jun 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I like Harding and think he is a solid goalie I just don’t see room here for him, and with his injury history I am sure the Wild don’t want to commit more than one year to him. He is a good goalie and hopefully he ends back up with MN but I am not counting on it.

    • porkchopexpress1969 - Jun 19, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      This is a correct statement, Harding is a good goalie. But he is to injury prone. Not sure what the Wild should do. Backstrom is still a solid goalie, but getting older and spendy. Harding is injury prone.

  4. jernster21 - Jun 19, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Columbus could use Backstrom or Harding – I’d go after Harding in a heartbeat.

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