SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Minnesota Wild Acting General Manager Tom Lynn today announced that goaltender Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to undergo surgery on his left hip Friday, April 24.
"Mechanically, what we're looking at is [that] Nik has two cysts in his hip," Lynn said from Houston, where the Wild's AHL affiliate is playing in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. "Both [cysts] are right now affecting his angles and mechanics."
Pointing out that Backstrom's injury would at some point require surgery to correct the issue in time, Lynn said the rounds of consultation led to a decision not to wait.
"We talked together with Nik and decided the best course would be to get this fixed right away and have him ready for next season," said Lynn. "So we're sending him off to Vail Friday to get it done, and he'll begin his rehab immediately."
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo., who also performed surgery on Marian Gaborik, though Lynn stressed the two surgeries were very different.
"These are cysts on the bony part," Lynn said. "They're smoothed out so that the hip can work normally again."
Backstrom, the only goaltender to finish in the top five in each category, was 37-24-8 with a 2.33 GAA, a .923 SV% and eight shutouts in 71 games for the Wild this season. He also finished third in the NHL in shutouts, tied for third in GAA, fourth in save percentage and fifth in wins.
"Nik addressed this decision like he addresses goaltending," said Lynn. "He thought about it for a long time. He sought council from us, our doctors, Marc Phillippon, his Finish national team doctor ... We spoke with him a number of times, and we both thought this was a better way to go, so it was an easy thing to do."
Lynn cautioned against setting an exact timetable on a rehabilitation period, instead announcing a "worst case" scenario as a four-to-six month process, while a "most likely" case is seen in three-to-five month range, which would place a Backstrom return in time for training camp.