May 16, 2013, 11:55 AM EDT
On Thursday, Minnesota announced that goalie Niklas Backstrom underwent successful sports hernia surgery, and is expected to be recovered for the start of the 2013-14 season.
But will he be back with the Wild?
The 36-year-old is in the final season of a four-year, $24 million deal signed back in 2009. While still highly-effective — he tied for the NHL lead in wins this year, with 24 — it remains to be seen if Minnesota will bring him back.
(In a recent column, Mike Russo of the Star Tribune wondered if Backstrom had played his last game for the Wild.)
Minnesota has Josh Harding under contract ’til 2015 and, after missing a large chunk of the season due to complications with multiple sclerosis, Harding rebounded to play in all five of Minnesota’s opening-round playoff games against Chicago after Backstrom got hurt during warmups prior to Game 1.
(Harding finished with a .911 save percentage and 2.94 GAA, earning a Masterton Trophy nomination earlier this week.)
The Wild also have 22-year-old Darcy Kuemper in the mix.
The 2009 draftee was outstanding for AHL Houston this season (13-8-0, 1.88 GAA, .934 save percentage) and looked good in limited minutes at the NHL level this season.
That said, it’s tough to envision the Wild going with just Harding and Kuemper next season, so Backstrom could be brought back.
- On ‘score effects,’ and the challenges of playing with the lead 0
- MacKinnon: Avs ‘shut ourselves down’ in Game 3, not Wild 3
- Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews named Selke finalists 10
- Report: Zetterberg to return to Detroit lineup tonight (Update: Game-time decision) 19
- Kane’s OT goal ties Blackhawks – Blues series at 2-2 31
- Stars chase Andersen, tie series with Ducks 2-2 19
- Penguins blow three-goal lead, Columbus evens series 87
- NHL suspends Matt Cooke for seven games 100
- Ducks’ Getzlaf (upper body) isn’t available for Game 4 (Updated) 3
- Two years after winning the Cup, the Kings’ ‘mix’ comes into question 39
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)