Niklas Backstrom signs deal with Finnish league


Long-time NHL netminder Niklas Backstrom has effectively ended his NHL career by signing a one-year deal to play for HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Liiga.

This will mark the first season the 38-year-old has played in Finland since the 2005-06 campaign with Karpat. He spent the first 10 years of his career playing professionally in Finland before debuting in the NHL in 2006 with the Minnesota Wild. Then 28-years-old, Backstrom had an incredible season for the Wild, posting a 1.97 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 41 games—good enough to finish sixth in Vezina Trophy voting. His play cemented his status as the Wild’s starting goaltender for the next six seasons.

Over the past several seasons, age and injuries began to take their toll on Backstrom, who found himself the odd-man out in a three-goalie rotation for the Wild this season and didn’t play a single game. He was traded to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline where he played in four contests. He played his final game on April 9 against his former team, the Wild, in Minnesota, where he posted captured a win in a 2-1 victory. Backstrom was named the game’s first star and received a standing ovation from the Minnesota fans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *