Originally written on Tonight's Healthy Scratches  |  Last updated 11/9/14
Edmonton_oilers_v_cefe

The Minnesota Wild locked up 28 year-old goaltender Josh Harding for the next three years, a deal worth $5.7 million over that stretch. The contract is a raise for Harding, whose previous deal paid him $750 thousand last season. The contract sets the Wild up for the future after starter Nicklas Backstrom, age 34, becomes a free agent, scheduled for the summer of 2013.

But for anyone playing "Brian Burke - Home Edition," don't make the mistake of believing that Harding's new deal in Minnesota makes Backstrom an option via trade for the Leafs next season, or any other team for that matter. Backstrom won't be going anywhere.

Pierre Lebrun reported as much this afternoon, stating that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wanted to keep Backstrom and Harding as a formidable "1-2 punch" in the West.  Such isn't a bad plan with the two posting similarly strong numbers. Backstrom posted a GAA of 2.43 and a save percentage of .919 while carrying the bulk of the work, while Harding posted a GAA of 2.62 and a save percentage of.917 through 34 games, the heaviest workload of his career, as the Wild groomed him to be their starter for the future.

But while the Wild are solid in net with both Harding and Backstrom, there is probably more to Fletcher's remarks than a "strong 1-2 punch." More realistically, it would seem as though Backstrom would be hard to move.

Despite strong goaltending, there are numerous question marks for a Wild team seeking to contend in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Wild were strong throughout the first half of the season, only to drop to twelfth in the conference. But injuries to Guillaume Latendresse (16 games played) and Mikko Koivu (55 games played) deprived the Wild of much needed scoring, while the additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi didn't translate to wins.

Fletcher will be among the top bidders if Zach Parise hits the open market in July, as he needs to add scoring to his roster that ranked dead last in the NHL in goals scored, 17 back of 29th ranked Los Angeles. But would Fletcher give greater consideration to dealing a proven starter like Backstrom, in relatively high demand in the league this summer and after making a commitment to Harding, to fill those scoring needs? Perhaps if he could.

The fact is that the 34 year-old Backstrom carries with him a $6 million cap hit and, again, is a free agent next summer. What team, even with the most dire goaltending needs, would deal for a one year rental at that hefty a cap hit, not to mention the package Minnesota could command to complete such a deal?

Or think of it this way. Even a contract as unappealing as Roberto Luongo's would charge a team $4.5 million next season, and at least give that team the stability of knowing their situation in the crease through 2022. Luongo's contract is more affordable for next season and at least allows for a plan and stability, while Backstrom would serve as the most expensive temporary stop-gap in the game.

Any deal for Backstrom would almost certainly require an extension upon signing, if not some restructuring, which would not even be considered until a new CBA is set in place this fall, we hope.

So one way or another, Backstrom will stay, and Minnesota will be safe in net. But regardless of their goaltending strength, without additions to the offense, Minnesota will find themselves in the exact same spot they were last Spring when the trade deadline comes around. At that point, when teams are willing to deal for large expiring contracts for the playoff run, Backstrom may be the most sought after goaltender in the game. But for the time being, Chuck Fletcher will have to work to see that this "1-2 punch" isn't the only punch his roster has.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Metta World Peace expresses interest to coach St John's

Knicks want Marc Gasol, do they know what they’re asking for?

New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot

Victorino: I plan on playing every day for Red Sox in 2015

The Rams are still planning on drafting a quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Howard willing to make 'ultimate sacrifice' to help Rockets

Pacquiao bought P. Diddy’s house for $12.5M, fight tickets

The Seahawks are already winning the NFL Draft

Fiancée takes stand at Aaron Hernandez's murder trial

Thunder announce Kevin Durant to miss rest of season

Jeremy Maclin says he still believes in Chip Kelly

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

Angels remove Josh Hamilton banner from front of stadium

Elite Eight preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Mother says special needs son forced to remove varsity letter

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should they tank?

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Twins to offer $19 Bloody Mary with pizza slice garnish

Ranking the NBA's hottest coaching seats

The beginning of the end for Notre Dame

An identity in flux: Harden and the collective consciousness

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.