Niklas Bäckström

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This article is about the Finnish goaltender. For the Swedish forward, see Nicklas Bäckström. For the Swedish mixed martial arts fighter, see Niklas Bäckström (fighter).
Niklas Bäckström
Finnland-torhueter.jpg
Born (1978-02-13) February 13, 1978 (age 36)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team
Former teams
Minnesota Wild
SM-liiga
HIFK
SaiPa
Kärpät
Elitserien
AIK
National team  Finland
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1996–present
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for Finland Finland
Winter Olympics
Silver 2006 Turin
Bronze 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Bronze 2008 Quebec City
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
Gold 1998 Finland

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.[1] He also has won both Urpo Ylönen trophy and Jari Kurri trophy twice. Bäckström is a natively Swedish-speaking Finn, but also speaks Finnish.

Career[edit]

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.[2]

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 Bäckström was placed in the starting position. Bäckström 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.[3] 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 runner-up for the Vezina Trophy. In 2012, Bäckström 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, Bäckström slumped and with injuries, he could not lead the Wild into the playoffs.

NHL Milestones[edit]

1st NHL Game: October 7, 2006 vs Nashville Predators Wild 6 Predators 5 [4]

1st NHL Win: October 7, 2006 vs Nashville Predators Wild 6 Predators 5 [5]

1st NHL Shutout: November 24, 2006 vs Phoenix Coyotes Wild 4 Coyotes 0 [6] (7th career game)

Awards[edit]

  • 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
  • 2008-09: 2009 NHL All-Star
  • 2008-09: Vezina Trophy Finalist, NHL
  • 2009–10: Olympic Bronze Medal, as a member of Team Finland

Minnesota Wild franchise records[edit]

  • 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)

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L T OT SO GA SA SV% GAA MIN
1996–97 HIFK SM-liiga 2 .824 5.85
1997–98 HIFK SM-liiga 3
1998–99 HIFK SM-liiga 16 9 5 1 1 26 .932 1.69
1999–00 HIFK SM-liiga 4 .785 6.58
2000–01 SaiPa SM-liiga 49 .924 2.55
2001–02 AIK SEL 40 1 111 1,073 .897 3.05 2,186
2002–03 Kärpät SM-liiga 36 16 8 9 4 77 1,080 .929 2.16 2,136
2003–04 Kärpät SM-liiga 43 24 8 8 7 87 1,353 .936 2.03 2,572
2004–05 Kärpät SM-liiga 47 27 10 10 7 102 1,387 .927 2.17 2,819
2005–06 Kärpät SM-liiga 51 32 9 10 10 86 1,422 .940 1.68 3,077
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 23 8 6 5 73 1,028 .929 1.97 2,226
2007–08 Minnesota Wild NHL 58 33 13 8 4 131 1,629 .920 2.31 3,408
2008–09 Minnesota Wild NHL 71 37 24 8 8 159 2,059 .923 2.33 4,088
2009–10 Minnesota Wild NHL 60 26 23 8 2 158 1,632 .903 2.72 3,489
2010–11 Minnesota Wild NHL 51 22 23 5 3 158 1,566 .916 2.66 2,978
2011–12 Minnesota Wild NHL 46 19 18 7 4 105 1,299 .919 2.43 2,590
2012–13 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 24 15 3 2 98 1,072 .909 2.48 1,072
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 21 5 11 2 0 55 546 .899 3.02 1,094
NHL totals 379 189 135 47 28 911 10,831 .916 2.46 22,243

International play[edit]

   
Tournament Year GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
EHT 2004–05 3 2 0 1 180 7 1 2.23 .928
IHWC 2005 5 1 1 3 310 12 1 2.32 .902
EHT 2005–06 2 0 2 0 124 3 0 1.45 .956
Totals 10 3 3 4 614. 22 2 2.14

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hockeyworldblog.com/tag/roger-crozier-saving-grace-award/
  2. ^ "Minnesota Wild – Team: Niklas Backstrom Official Player Page". National Hockey League. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  3. ^ Wild Signs Goalie Backstrom ESPN, March 3, 2009
  4. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/200610070MIN.html
  5. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/200610070MIN.html
  6. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/200611240MIN.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jussi Markkanen
Winner of the Urpo Ylönen trophy
2003–04, 2004–05
Succeeded by
Juuso Riksman
Preceded by
Esa Pirnes
Winner of the Jari Kurri trophy
2003–04, 2004–05
Succeeded by
Miika Wiikman
Preceded by
Miikka Kiprusoff
Winner of the Jennings Trophy
2007 (with Manny Fernandez)
Succeeded by
Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek
Preceded by
Cristobal Huet
Winner of the Crozier Award
2007
Succeeded by
Final winner