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Wild Spotlight Player: NIKLAS BACKSTROM

Niklas_backstrom_mediumFan favorite Niklas Backstrom is a goalie for the Minnesota Wild and has seen playing time increase ever since the 2006-2007 season when original starter goalie, Manny Fernandez, was sidelined due to a knee injury. In fact, the 2006-2007 season was Backstrom's first with the Wild. Although originally slated to be a back-up player, Backstrom saw lots of action starting halfway through the season and he racked up impressive statistics. Backstrom played 2227 minutes throughout the season .92 shots saved and 5 shut-outs.

During his 2007-2008 season, Backstrom played in 58 games for 3,408 minutes and became a key member of the Wild's success. Backstrom posted 4 shutouts and 1629 saves. In playoffs against Colorado, Backstrom made set the franchise playoff record of an impressive 44 saves in a single game which led to a victory in overtime.

Niklas Backstrom's career before signing with the Wild in June 2006 was filled with international play and tournaments, primarily with the Karpat Finland team since 1996. Backstrom was born February 13, 1978 in Helsinki, Finland and still lives there during the off season. Backstrom was also part of Team Finland in the 2006 Winter Olympics, though he did not see any ice time.

Niklas Backstrom is still evolving as a Wild player under the leadership of Coach Jacques Lemaire. After originally signing a one year contract in 2006, Backstrom negotiated an additional two year deal worth $6.2 million. He will now be a Wild player through the 2008-2009 season. After that, Backstrom said he expects to be traded though, depending on his performance, the Wild may want him back.