Instant analysis: Wild lock up Backstrom at decent rate

March, 3, 2009

As we first told you around 11:45 a.m. ET, a big name was removed from the NHL trade market Tuesday when the Minnesota Wild signed star goalie Niklas Backstrom to a four-year, $24 million extension. The team will officially announce the signing at a 12:30 p.m. ET news conference.

It's a huge development for the Wild, who were faced with possibly losing Backstrom to free agency July 1 and were taking phone calls from other teams about him heading into Wednesday's trade deadline.

Great job by both sides to get it done in this economic environment. Backstrom will get a healthy raise, from $3.1 million this season to $6 million next season. At the same time, the Wild locked up one of the top netminders in the game at a decent rate.

Both sides spoke throughout the weekend but were still nowhere Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, things heated up, and by Monday night, they had a deal in place.

Backstrom is fourth in goals-against average (2.24) and fourth in save percentage (.925). The 31-year-old Helsinki native is among the busiest goaltenders in the NHL, ranking seventh in total ice time. He has a 28-18-4 record.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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