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Wild, Backstrom agree to terms on three-year deal

Monday, 06.24.2013 / 5:02 PM / News

NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild on Monday agreed to terms with veteran goaltender Niklas Backstrom on a three-year contract.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting it's a $10.25 million deal, for an annual $3.42 million salary-cap charge.

"Our first priority was to resign [Niklas]," general manager Chuck Fletcher told the team's website. "... He's been a model of consistency during his career. .... We were able to find a way to give him some security in terms of a three-year deal. In exchange he was willing to work with us in terms of our cap situation and give us a cap number that is very workable for not just this year, but going forward. Again, I think it's a win-win."

Backstrom, 35, comes off a season in which he started 41 games for the Wild and made 42 appearances in the 48-game season. He was injured during the pregame skate prior to Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks and didn't play in the postseason.

According to the website, Backstrom, at home in Finland, skated Monday for the first time since undergoing surgery May 16 to correct a sports hernia.

"It felt good," Backstrom said of the hour-long skating session. "Everything feels good with the lower core."

Backstrom was 24-15-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. His 184 career victories are a Minnesota franchise record. Signed as a free agent by the team on June 1, 2006, Backstrom has a career record of 184-124-45 with a 2.43 GAA, .917 save percentage and 28 shutouts.

"At 35 years of age, the way athletes prepare, the way they train, there's no reason why he can't play even beyond this contract," Fletcher said. "And hopefully this isn't the last contract he signs with us."

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round