What isn't visible is the other side of the coin. The ease at which the criticism could be aimed at the management of the Wild. Today, you get to see just how easy the coin could be flipped, and how easy it would have been for Salcer and Moneybags to make DR and the crew look like the bad guys.
To see this alternate universe, we must simply look away from the IR list, and back onto the ice. There, at the end of the ice, sitting alone in the net is Niklas Backstrom. A quiet, reserved man who says little even when prodded by the media. He is quiet because his play speaks for him.
In the past three seasons, Backstrom stacks up with the very best in the game.
105 GP. 61-21-15, 2.16 GAA, .924 Sv%
163 GP: 97- 52- 14 2.20 GAA, .914 sv
The disparity in games played is due to the fact that the Wild have continued to try to get Josh Harding to step up and be the goalie they drafted him to be. They brought Harding in to be the replacement for the Fernandez / Roloson dynamic duo. When Harding was hurt in training camp two seasons ago, the Wild dug deep into the European pool and came out with an elite goaltender. Meanwhile, Harding still has yet to show he can be the man the Wild rely on day to day.
Did I mention that Backstrom is in the last year of his contract with the Wild? With all of the focus on Moneybags, and DR even saying that UM is the focus right now, and that Backs would have to wait, Wild fans should be worried.
All of the focus is on a man who has never played a full season due to injury, and who has been an absolute disappearing act in the playoffs. All this while the rock in the net gets over looked and ignored by management.
This is the Brian Rolston negotiations all over again. If DR waits until the season ends, the Wild will lose Backs. Negotiate now, and you can keep him until the end of his career, and likely at a reasonable price.
Now, you are asking yourself, how does this flip the coin? How does this situation make the management the bad guys? It is simple. Because Backstrom has said he wants to stay. Flat out, no conditions, no offer me what I'm worth, no "if they would give me what I want, we wouldn't be talking about it." No, the quotes are much more succinct. From an article by Mike Russo :
"I like my teammates here, like the city, the rink, the fans especially. I feel this is a good place for me to be."
Should Risebrough take his attention off of Gaborik, and start the negotiations up with Backstrom?
Yes (16 votes)
No (2 votes)
18 total votes