Niklas Backstrom signs 3-year deal with Wild; so much for Fleury

Hey, here’s something we’ve never seen before: a high profile, pending free agent signs a contract days after it’s leaked that the team might be in the market for his replacement.

In the case of the Minnesota Wild, that’s goalie Niklas Backstrom, who signed a 3-year extension with the team on Monday before hitting unrestricted free agency this summer.

The signing comes after word leaked that the Wild were kicking the tires on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, whose future is in question after back-to-back playoff flops. Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher has a relationship with Fleury, having served as assistant GM in Pittsburgh.

Via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:

I don't have an exact cap hit yet, but it's less than $4 million annually.

Backstrom, the Wild's goalie of seven years, won 24 games last year before sustaining a sports hernia before the playoffs. He has won 184 games. Backstrom, 35, wanted term -- at least 3 years -- and he got it. The Wild wanted to make certain it came in less than $4 million -- what he probably would have gotten on the open market -- and it got that.

So a win/win for the winningest goalie in franchise history.