13 February 1978 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||197 lb (89 kg; 14 st 1 lb)|
Niklas Oskar Bäckström (Swedish: [ˈnɪkːlas ²bɛkːstrœm]; born 13 February 1978) is a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for HIFK in the Finnish Liiga. He formerly played 10 seasons for the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames in 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 natively Swedish-speaking Finn, but also speaks Finnish.
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 in Turin, 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 Minnesota Wild of the NHL on 1 June 2006.
Minnesota Wild (2006-2016)
At the beginning of the 2006–07 season, Bäckström was the backup for the Wild's starting goaltender, Manny Fernandez. He made his NHL debut on 7 October 2006, notching his first career win in a 6-5 victory over the Nashville Predators. In his 7th career game, Bäckström continued to impress in recording his first career shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on 24 November 2006. After Fernandez suffered a knee injury mid-season, Bäckström was forced into assuming the starter's position. He played exceptionally well over the second half of the season, finishing first in the NHL 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 to the Boston Bruins in 2007, Bäckström became Minnesota's starting goaltender. He recorded 33 wins in the 2007–08 season, and was the starter for Minnesota's first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche, which Colorado won in six games.
Though he was due to become an unrestricted free agent on 1 July 2009, Bäckström signed a four-year, $24 million contract on 3 March 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 finished as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL's top goaltender. 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.
In the following seasons, Bäckström played on and off with the additions of goaltenders like Ilya Bryzgalov, Darcy Kuemper, and Devan Dubnyk to the Wild roster. In the 2015-16 season, he often found himself on the healthy scratch list with Kuemper playing as Dubnyk's backup.
Calgary Flames (2016)
Having yet to appear in a competitive game with the Wild in the season, on 29 February 2016 Bäckström was traded to the Calgary Flames along with a draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft for forward David Jones. He made his season debut in appearing in 4 games for the Flames, notching 2 wins.
Return to Finland (2016-present)
On 10 June 2016, Bäckström brought an end to his NHL career, signing as an impending free agent to a one-year contract to return to his original club HIFK in Finland.
- Most wins: 194
- Most shutouts in a season: 8 (2008–09)
Regular season and playoffs
Bäckström during the 2005 IIHF World Championship
|Men's ice hockey|
|2008 Quebec City|
|World Junior Championship|
- 1997–98: Gold Medal, World Juniors (U-20) Championship
- 1998–99: 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 (Gold Medal), 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 (Gold Medal), 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
- 2015-16: Silver Medal, World Championship
- "Roger Crozier saving grace award". hockeyworldblog.org. 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2015-04-03.
- "Minnesota Wild – Team: Niklas Backstrom Official Player Page". National Hockey League. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- "Wild 6, Predators 5". hockeyreference.com. 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
- "Wild blank Coyotes". hockeyreference.com. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
- Wild Signs Goalie Backstrom ESPN, 3 March 2009
- "Wild Acquires David Jones, Trades Niklas Backstrom To Calgary". wild.nhl.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
- "Niklas Backstrom, Juha Aaltonen sign with HIFK" (in Finnish). HIFK. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
- Russo, Mike (2016-03-01). "Niklas Backstrom: 'Being part of the State of Hockey ... is a privilege.'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
- Odland, Kristen (2016-03-24). "Calgary Flames goalie Niklas Backstrom looking forward to 'special game' against Minnesota". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
- Niklas Bäckström profile at Eurohockey.com
- Niklas Bäckström player profile at NHL.com
- Niklas Bäckström career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Awards and achievements|
|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