Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - On Monday morning, free agent goalie Niklas Backstrom took to the ice in his native country of Finland just like he had thousands of times before. But this time one thing was different. Monday was the first time Backstrom had taken to the ice since undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia that he had suffered prior to game one of the Wild's first round playoff matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Monday also happened to be the day that Backstrom agreed to a new three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild worth $10.25 Million.
"I don't think it's been a secret to anyone how much I've enjoyed playing for the Minnesota Wild and living in the State of Hockey," Backstrom said on a conference call with local media members Monday afternoon. "That was the thing I was hoping for, a chance to come back. I'm really grateful and thankful that I can be back...It's nice to be back."
Backstrom went 24-15-3 with the Minnesota Wild in 2012-2013 and posted a 2.48 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Now 35-years old, Backstrom admitted that he may have to work a little harder at finding the balance between resting and working the body too hard.
"It's something I have to work on," Backstrom said. "You need to find the right balance between when you need a day off and when you need to skate."
Despite the heavy workload last season, Backstrom insisted that his injury was not a result of being overworked but more likely a follow up from the hip surgery he underwent in 2009.
The new deal will carry with it a $3.24 million salary cap hit which will open up a little room for the cash-strapped Minnesota Wild to work with throughout the remainder of the offseason.
Backstrom is the franchise leader in wins, shutouts, shutout streak, games played, starts and minutes played.