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2014 NHL Draft
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Niklas Backstrom
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Niklas Backstrom  #32

NUMBER: 32 BIRTHDATE: February 13, 1978  (AGE 36)
HEIGHT: 6' 2" BIRTHPLACE: Helsinki, Finland
WEIGHT: 197
Catches: Left
<span class="txt18Strg">All-Star Profile </span><br /> <br /> <a href="#quick"><b>QUICK FACTS</b></a><br /> <a href="#he"><b>HE SAID IT</b></a><br /> <a href="#they"><b>THEY SAID IT</b></a><br /> <a href="#news"><b>IN THE NEWS</b></a><br /> <a href="#video"><b>VIDEO FEATURES</b></a><br /> <br /> <a name="quick"></a><b>QUICK FACTS</b><br /> In 2007-08, Backstrom's first season as the Wild's number one goaltender following the off-season trade of Manny Fernandez to Boston, he set a franchise record for wins (33-13-8), topping the previous mark of 30 set by Manny Fernandez in 2005-06. <br /> <br /> Signed as a free agent out of the Finnish Elite League by Minnesota in June, 2006, the Helsinki native was brought in to bolster goaltending depth within the organization. He was impressive enough in training camp to earn the backup role to Fernandez and got his chance to play after Fernandez suffered a knee injury at the end of January. Backstrom ended the 2006-07 season with a 23-8-6 record in 41 appearances. He led all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.929), posted a franchise record-tying five shutouts and teamed with Fernandez to capture the William Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest regular-season goals. <br /> <br /> Backstrom's grandfather, Tor, was a goalie in the Finnish Elite League and his father, Dick, was a junior goalie before retiring to work in the travel business -- &quot;I hear my grandpa was pretty good. I never saw either of them play, but I saw pictures.&quot; <br /> <br /> His career in Sweden didn't start to take off until his Oulu (Finland) goalie coach, Ari Hilli, switched him from a standup goalie to the butterfly style. He won two championships and posted a 104-36-37 record in four years with Oulu. He recalled: &quot;I (saw) my career pick up with the style change. I was winning. I was on a great team. And I was happy.&quot; <br /> <br /> <a name="he"></a><b>HE SAID IT</b><br /> On playing in the NHL and his learning curve: &quot;I always believe you have to earn your ice time. Everybody wants to play all the games. But I accept any role because I know every time I go to the rink I'm lucky to be in the NHL ... the first year you come here, you're not too ready. You don't know about the league or the players. You just want to grab a spot on the team. The second year, you come in and you're just thinking, 'I hope I wasn't that lucky. Maybe I'm not really that good.' Now, two seasons in, you feel more comfortable coming back here. You know real well the city, the guys on the team, the trainers, everything. It feels like coming home, and now you can't wait to play.&quot; <br /> <br /> On wanting to play in Minnesota and signing a contract: &quot;I like my teammates here, like the city, the rink, the fans especially. I feel this is a good place for me to be. For sure, I've played some of my best games here. So if something's working fine for you, it's not always good for you to change it if it's up to you.&quot; <br /> <br /> On his development: &quot;I was what you might call a 'late bloomer'.&quot; <br /> <br /> On his childhood: &quot;I grew up just like any other young kid wanting to play hockey. I knew I wanted to be a goalie when I was six. I'd go out to the lake and skate with the rest of the kids. I'd make a glove save like Marty Brodeur. I'd go down and sprawl to make a save like Patrick Roy.&quot; <br /> <br /> <a name="they"></a><b>THEY SAID IT</b><br /> Minnesota Wild GM Doug Risebrough: &quot;Honestly, I can't sit here and tell you I knew he was going to be this good. I brought him over just as competition for Harding ... if I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have signed him to a two-way, one-year deal (at first).&quot; <br /> <br /> <!--<a name="news"></a><b>IN THE NEWS</b><br /> <a href="http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=400186&amp;cmpid=rss">Kane eager for the Winter Classic to arrive</a><br /> <a href="http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=398201">Sizzling Kane right at home in Chicago</a> <br /> <br />--> <a name="video"></a><b>VIDEO FEATURES</b><br /> <a href="http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?&amp;id=12103">Backstrom Feature</a><br />
Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp