SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Now the tough roster decisions can begin.
Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said firming up the goaltending situation would be the linchpin to deciding how the team will fill out its roster and decide which free agents will stay or go.
The signing of longtime starting goalie Niklas Backstrom to a 3-year deal allows that difficult process to begin.
Backstrom went 24-15-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average (GAA), a .909 save percentage (SV%) and two shutouts in 42 starts for the Wild during the 2012-13 season.
He ranked tied for first in the NHL in wins, tied for fifth in games played and seventh in minutes played. The 35-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland, established a franchise-record with an eight-game winning streak from March 14-30.
Backstrom did not appear in the Wild's playoff series with Chicago after injuring himself in warmups before game one. He underwent successful sports hernia surgery on May 16.
In seven years with the Wild Backstrom is 184-124-45. He is the franchise leader in wins, shutouts, games played, starts and minutes played.
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