Earlier this week, the Wild did something that I didn't think would happen. They re-signed Nicklas Backstrom at a very cap-friendly 3.42 million dollars per year, a decrease of 2.58 million on last year's 6 million dollar salary.
This was unexpected because 1) a goaltender with the credentials of Niklas Backstrom find themselves in demand, 2) with teams like Philadelphia needing a goaltender, Backstrom had himself quite a bit of leverage, and 3) players rarely take a drastic salary reduction to re-sign with the same team.
Credit to Fletcher for managing to secure his #1 goaltender at a good deal. But even more credit to Backstrom, whose made it clear that his wish to remain in Minnesota was very real, and not just lip service. I don't begrudge any player for trying to extract every dollar he can- it's certainly his right- but it's very refreshing to see a player make sacrifices to stay in a place he likes, with an organization that's been good to him. The Minnesota Wild is better for it, as they won't have to spend the assets it would have taken to land Jonathan Bernier, nor a top-dollar free agent goaltender like Mike Smith.
Many complain about Backstrom, which I feel is more tied to what his salary was than anything else. His 6 million dollar salary placed him in the realm of players such as Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, and Jonathan Quick. The elites. I've never been one to complain about Backstrom, but I did find his cap hit to be a notch above what I thought he was worth. Looking at his current salary, he's placed right around where Devan Dubnyk, Craig Anderson, Jaroslav Halak, and Antti Niemi are at. That sounds about right, if not a touch low. Like I said, it's a good deal for the Wild.
In a sane and rational world, people wouldn't be all gung-ho on the "Trade Backstrom" train of thought like they have been for the last forever or so. Which will probably be silly, because if Backstrom is taking less, it's almost certainly with some restrictive movement clause. And also, it's not a sane and rational world, so that won't cease, but it should.