February 13, 1978 |
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight||196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)|
|Men's ice hockey|
|Competitor for Finland|
|Bronze||2008 Quebec City|
|World Junior Ice Hockey Championships|
Niklas Oskar Bäckström (born February 13, 1978) is a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has won both William M. Jennings Trophy and Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award. He also has won both Urpo Ylönen trophy and Jari Kurri trophy twice. Bäckström is a Swedish-speaking Finn.
Niklas Bäckström won the 1998 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as a backup goaltender for the Finnish national team, along with players like Olli Jokinen, Niklas Hagman, Mika Noronen, Niko Kapanen, Toni Dahlman and Eero Somervuori. Bäckström was the third goaltender for Team Finland in the 2006 Winter Olympics, but did not play any games. In the Finnish SM-liiga he played for HIFK, SaiPa and Kärpät. Bäckström led Kärpät to two consecutive league titles in 2004 and 2005. Bäckström signed a one-year contract with the Wild on June 1, 2006.
At the beginning of the 2006–2007 season, Bäckström was the backup for the Wild's starting goaltender, Manny Fernandez. Fernandez suffered a knee injury mid-season and Backstrom was placed in the starting position. Backstrom played exceptionally well over the second half of the season, finishing first in the league in both goals against average (GAA) and save percentage, while tying Dwayne Roloson's team record with five shutouts in just 36 starts.
Upon the trade of Fernandez in 2007, Bäckström became Minnesota's starting goaltender. He recorded 33 wins in the 2007–08 NHL season, and was the starter for Minnesota's first round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche, which Colorado won in six games.
Though he was due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2009, Bäckström signed a four-year, $24 million contract on March 3, 2009, to remain with the Wild. Despite Bäckström's 37 wins and strong goaltending, the Wild ultimately did not qualify for the playoffs in 2009. In that season, Bäckström was the second runner-up for the Vezina Trophy. In 2012, Backstrom played very well in the first half the season, and the Wild had a chance to make the playoffs, but in the second half of the season, Backstrom slumped and with injuries, he could not lead the Wild into the playoffs.
During the 2013 season, Backstrom tied for most wins in the league. However, he was unable to play in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to an injury acquired during practice prior to Game 1.
1st NHL Win: October 7, 2006 vs Nashville Predators Wild 6 Predators 5 
- 1997–98: Gold Medal, World Juniors (U-20) Championship
- 1997–98: Silver Medal, SM-liiga
- 2002–03: Silver Medal, SM-liiga
- 2003–04: All-Star Team, SM-liiga
- 2003–04: Urpo Ylönen trophy (Best Goaltender), SM-liiga
- 2003–04: Jari Kurri trophy (Best Player, Playoffs), SM-liiga
- 2003–04: Kanada-malja trophy, as a member of Kärpät, SM-liiga
- 2004–05: All-Star Team, SM-liiga
- 2004–05: Urpo Ylönen trophy (Best Goaltender), SM-liiga
- 2004–05: Jari Kurri trophy (Best Player, Playoffs), SM-liiga
- 2004–05: Kanada-malja trophy, as a member of Kärpät, SM-liiga
- 2005–06: Olympic Silver Medal, as a member of Team Finland
- 2005–06: Bronze Medal, SM-liiga
- 2005–06: Bronze Medal, World Championship, as a member of Team Finland
- 2006–07: William M. Jennings Trophy (best goals-against average), as a member of Minnesota Wild (shared with Manny Fernandez), NHL
- 2006–07: Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award (best save percentage), NHL
- 2007–08: Bronze Medal, World Championship
- 2009–10: Olympic Bronze Medal, as a member of Team Finland
Minnesota Wild franchise records
- Most wins: 184 (as of completion of 2012–13 NHL season)
- Most wins in a season: 37 (2008–09)
- Most shutouts in a season: 8 (2008–09)
Regular season and playoffs
Notes and references
- "Minnesota Wild – Team: Niklas Backstrom Official Player Page". National Hockey League. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- Wild Signs Goalie Backstrom ESPN, March 3, 2009
- Niklas Bäckström – player profile and career stats at European Hockey.Net
- Niklas Bäckström's player profile at NHL.com
- Niklas Bäckström's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Winner of the Urpo Ylönen trophy
|Winner of the Jari Kurri trophy
|Winner of the Jennings Trophy
2007 (with Manny Fernandez)
Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek
|Winner of the Crozier Award