In the 2012-13 season, Niklas Backstrom led all NHL goalies with 24 wins. He started 42 games over a 98-day stretch, and helped lead the Wild into the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Backstrom holds just about every record there is for the Wild when it comes to goaltenders, but his workload in that shortened season three years ago still sticks out to General Manager Chuck Fletcher.
"He honestly almost played every game for us that year, and single-handedly got us in the playoffs," Fletcher said. "Zach and Ryan were great, Mikko was great, but this guy played every night. It was a truncated schedule a short season, we had a lot of back-to-backs, a lot of three-in-fours, and he won a lot of games for us."
Backstrom, the all-time wins leader in Wild history, who also holds the record for games played and saves, to name a few, was traded to the Calgary Flames on Monday in exchange for forward David Jones.
"I just want to recognize everything Niklas Backstrom has done for this franchise," Fletcher said on a conference call Monday following the trade deadline. "He’s the winningest goalie in team history, won a lot of games for this club, and really competed hard for us over the years.
"He was very professional this year in trying circumstances and I just give him a lot of credit for putting the team first and practicing hard every day and being a good teammate. The trade was made in part to help us but also hopefully to give Nik an opportunity to get some game action this season and hopefully rejuvenate his career."
Fletcher said Backstrom expressed interest in wanting to get playing time this season in the hopes of finding a more regular role next season.
"He understood that Devan (Dubnyk) and Darcy (Kuemper) were here, but if something could work out he would be open to discussing it," Fletcher said. "We’ve had constant dialogue over the last few months and today we were able to do something that hopefully helps the team and helps Nik."