10 Questions Facing the Wild - #5

What's the goalie situation heading into the season?

Frankly, this is probably the easiest question to answer.

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via Getty Images

Niklas Backstrom, Niklas Backstrom, Niklas Backstrom.

Without Backstrom, this team faces some serious issues (only exacerbated by Martin Skoula's inability to keep his stick out of Josh Harding's eye). Backstrom won a team record 33 games last year and was hot down the stretch (it wasn't his fault they didn't make it out of round 1). This is a contract year for Backs, as well as Harding, and both are looking to make some serious coin in the off-season. It's doubtful that they'll look to re-sign both goalies, with Brust and Schaefer in Houston, but Backstrom is in the driver's seat. If he has a year like last year, Doug Risebrough is going to have to come up with the money, then jettison Harding. If, however, Backstrom flounders, then we're looking at a long season shuffling between the four to determine who the number one guy is.

It's imperative that Backstrom become the guy and play 60+ games, win 40 and push this team to give him a bigger, long-term contract. There's no reason a 30 year old netminder can't be relied upon 60 nights in a season and still have plenty left over for a long playoff run.

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