| Josh Harding, who won his only preseason start, will begin the 2006-07 season with the Houston Aeros. |
The Minnesota Wild made its final roster move prior to the season opener on Thursday, and it was probably the club’s most surprising decision. Goaltender Josh Harding
was assigned to the Houston Aeros on Tuesday, meaning Minnesota will go with Finnish netminder Niklas Backstrom
as the back-up to Manny Fernandez when the season begins.
Since early in camp, the Wild coaching staff has hinted that Harding had the inside track on the number two job. But the netminder, who started three games for the Wild last season and went 2-1-0, tweaked his groin muscle during practice last week. That injury may have been the deciding factor in Harding’s return to Houston, where he played the majority of the past two seasons.
With the goaltender move, the Wild has nailed down its final roster to 22. Backstrom is one of seven players making their Wild debuts on Thursday as well as Keith Carney, Pavol Demitra, Kim Johnsson, Petteri Nummelin, Mark Parrish and Branko Radivojevic.