Skip to main content

Backstrom practices Wednesday, is Harding pushing for starting spot?

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has missed the team's last four games after injuring his knee against Nashville last Tuesday, a game the Wild almost came back to win.

Minnesota is giving Backstrom all the time he needs to get healthy after his injury, and according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, its paying off.

Part of the reason the Wild can be so relaxed with Backstrom's comeback is the play of Josh Harding, who has won three of the four games since Backstrom's injury, while also performing well in relief duty of Backstrom last Tuesday and Darcy Kuemper last night.

With how good Harding has been in Backstrom's absence, is a goalie controversy brewing? Here's a quick look at their recent career numbers.

2009-10: Backstrom started 60 games for Minnesota, winning 26 while putting up a .903 save percentage and 2.72 goals against average. Harding started the remaining 22 games, posting a superior .905 save percentage, but a brutal 3.05 goals against average.

2010-11: Backstrom started 51 games, winning just 22, while posting an improved .916 save percentage and 2.66 goals against average. Harding missed the entire year after tearing his ACL and MCL.

2011-12: Backstrom started 46 games, going 19-18 while once again besting his previous year's stats with a .919 save percentage and 2.43 goals against. Harding returned to start 30 games, rivaling Backstrom's numbers with a .917 save percentage and 2.62 goals against.

2012-13: In the shortened, 48 game season, Backstrom appeared in 42 games, putting up a 2.48 goals against and .909 save percentage. Harding played in just five games while battling his MS diagnosis.

Backstrom hasn't ranked in the top half in goals against among starters since 2008-09, and has ranked 20th or worse three of those four seasons.

While history is still on Backstrom's side based on the opportunities he's been given and longevity in the league, it is at the very least a big positive for the Wild to have goaltender with the skill of Harding behind him, playing at the level he is now.

Next Up

Hockeyland1

'Hockeyland' documentary debuting in Minnesota movie theaters

The documentary has received great reviews at numerous film festivals.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Former Minnesota Olympic runner accused of driving drunk in Eden Prairie crash

Police said the man's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

ATV

Man, 79, killed in ATV rollover near Faribault

The man was declared dead at the scene.

minneapolis police

Woman fighting for her life after shooting in Minneapolis

The woman was shot only about a half-hour after a 14-year-old suffered critical injuries in an apparent accidental discharge.

prior lake high school

Two students face discipline over racist messages at Prior Lake High School

Families and students were largely uncooperative with the investigation.

Sharon and Herb Vasser

Cause of Hopkins house explosion that killed couple revealed

Sharon and Herb Vassar were killed in the explosion. Herb built the home back in 1962.

Arrows on target

Charges: Minnesota camp counselor fired arrows at kids, injuring boy

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the arm with an arrow.

North Shore Mayor Chris Swanson.

Two Harbors votes overwhelmingly to recall Mayor Chris Swanson

The mayor had been scrutinized for several things leading up to the vote Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-08-10 at 8.43.50 AM

Suspected gunman at large after homicide near Albert Lea

The 32-year-old suspect was last seen in a 2004 white Ford F-150 with Minnesota license number EUZ-057.

Ettinger and Finstad

Brad Finstad (R) edges out Jeff Ettinger (D) in CD-1 special election

Finstad will serve out the remaining months of the late Jim Hagedorn's term, before facing Ettinger again in November.

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Minnesota primary 2022: Results from MN's statewide, congressional races

Minnesotans have voted and set the stage for the November elections.

Related