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Report: Minnesota’s Backstrom to play in KHL

Sep 18, 2012, 12:20 PM EDT

Niklas Backstrom AP

It appears Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is off to Belarus.

The 34-year-old is reportedly set to sign a lockout agreement with KHL outfit HC Dynamo Minsk, according to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.

The move will reunite Backstrom with Finnish goalie guru Ari Hilly, Dynamo’s goaltending coach (Hilly is largely credited with the development of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.)

It’s possible Backstrom made the jump to Belarus with an eye on Minnesota’s other goalie, Josh Harding.

Expected to test free agent waters and find a team with a No. 1 gig available, Harding instead chose to re-sign with the Wild this summer on a three-year, $5.7 million dollar deal — presumably to challenge for the starting job.

So, easy to understand why Backstrom wants to stay sharp.

As for the club that signed him — Minsk made waves earlier this summer by securing the services of former Jets forward Tim Stapleton. The 30-year-old forward surprised some by jumping to the KHL after an impressive 2011-12 campaign with Winnipeg, one where he posted career highs in goals (11), assists (16) and points (27).

Update: Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune notes that Backstrom still hasn’t officially inked with Minsk because of insurance/visa issues. That said, Backstrom says signing with the team “is pretty far along.”

  1. lordfletcher - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    make a team by team tracker per players that have signed lockout deals.

    please :)

  2. phillyphan93 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Not that im a Wild fan, but at this point does anyone know where you can watch hockey from overseas?

    • bcsteele - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      If you have a xbox with xbox live you can download ESPN and it’s free. It airs KHL games, live and it also keeps them recorded. Trust me, that’s my plan till the children compromise.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 18, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        Do you have to watch via Xbox or can one watch on their laptop? I have a Xbox 360 but don’t feel like re-upping my Gold subscription haha.

  3. blomfeld - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Enjoy “красивый Минск” Pal !

    No surprise here, given the fact that we’re talking about a Swede !. Nonetheless, it is possible that Backstrom’s doing this to earn some extra cash in-order to help pay for Suter and Parise’s hideous “AIG” sized” contracts ? :)

    • spiciercheez - Sep 19, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      Too bad he’s not a Swede, guy.

      • blomfeld - Sep 19, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        He’s a “Swede” born and raised in Finland … “Niklas Oskar Bäckström” ar ett Svensk nam … det ar inte Finlandisk altsa …

  4. greatminnesotasportsmind - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    Maybe he can get hurt while over there and relieve the Wild of his massive over paid 6 million dollar cap hit.

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