Harding, Backstrom will be ready for Wild: report

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 8:50 AM NHL.com

Minnesota Wild goaltenders Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom are healthy and will be ready for training camp and the start of the regular season, general manager Chuck Fletcher told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune on Thursday.

"Everything's a go with both goalies," Fletcher told reporter Michael Russo. "Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, knock on wood, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season is feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we're not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training-camp medicals."

Harding played his final game of last season Dec. 31 and then was sidelined by complications related to multiple sclerosis. Backstrom last played Jan. 30 and had surgery to repair an abdominal injury March 25.

"Now's the time of the year, with about a month to go, you want to reach out and make sure there's no issues you don't know about so if there is something you have time to help the process," Fletcher said. "With Josh and Nik, you're just trying to reach out and see how they're doing. They're both doing really well."

Harding was an early-season Vezina Trophy candidate, going 18-7-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .933 save percentage; those totals each wound up leading the NHL.

Backstrom was 5-11-2 with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage in 21 games last season; in 2012-13 he was 24-15-3 with a 2.48 GAA and .909 save percentage while playing 42 of the Wild's 48 games.

"Injuries can happen to anybody, and certainly you can't predict things, but guys are healthy, and typically when Backstrom and Harding are healthy, they play well," Fletcher said. "If something happens, like any player at any position, we'll react. There's always a way to react if you need to, but at this point, we're comfortable with our situation."

Darcy Kuemper, who was 12-8-4 with a 2.43 GAA and .915 save percentage in 26 games, is unsigned as a restricted free agent.

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