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
Niklas Bäckström.jpg
Born (1978-02-13) February 13, 1978 (age 38)
Helsinki, FIN
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 197 lb (89 kg; 14 st 1 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
Liiga team
Former teams
HIFK
SaiPa
AIK IF
Kärpät
Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames
National team  Finland
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1996–present

Niklas Oskar Bäckström (Swedish: [ˈnɪkːlas ²bɛkːstrœm]; born February 13, 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.[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.

Playing career[edit]

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 June 1, 2006.[2]

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 October 7, 2006, notching his first career win in a 6-5 victory over the Nashville Predators.[3] 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 November 24, 2006.[4] 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.

Bäckström in 2011 while a member of the Wild

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 July 1, 2009, Bäckström signed a four-year, $24 million contract on March 3, 2009, to remain with the Wild.[5] 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.

Bäckström in 2007

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. Having yet to appear in a competitive game with the Wild in the season, on February 29, 2016 Bäckström was traded to the Calgary Flames along with a draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft for forward David Jones.[6] He made his season debut in appearing in 4 games for the Flames, notching 2 wins.

On June 10, 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.[7]

Records[edit]

Minnesota Wild[edit]

  • Most wins: 194
  • Most wins in a season: 37 (2008–09)
  • Most shutouts in a season: 8 (2008–09)

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T/OT MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1996–97 HIFK SM-l 2 0 0 0 30 3 0 .600 .824
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 3
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 16 9 5 1 923 26 1 1.69 .932
1999–00 HIFK SM-l 4 0 4 0 155 17 0 6.58 .785
2000–01 SaiPa SM-l 49 22 24 2 2826 120 2 2.55 .924
2001–02 AIK SEL 40 2186 111 1 3,05 .897
2002–03 Kärpät SM-l 36 16 8 9 2136 77 4 2.16 .929 15 7 8 990 33 1 2.00 .939
2003–04 Kärpät SM-l 43 24 8 8 2572 87 7 2.03 .936 15 9 6 926 36 1 2.33 .925
2004–05 Kärpät SM-l 47 27 10 10 2819 102 7 2.17 .927 12 10 2 720 15 3 1.25 .950
2005–06 Kärpät SM-l 51 32 9 10 3077 86 10 1.68 .940 4 3 1 195 6 0 1.85 .897
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 23 8 6 2226 73 5 1.97 .929 5 1 4 297 11 0 2.22 .924
2007–08 Minnesota Wild NHL 58 33 13 8 3408 131 4 2.31 .920 6 2 4 361 17 0 2.83 .900
2008–09 Minnesota Wild NHL 71 37 24 8 4088 159 8 2.33 .923
2009–10 Minnesota Wild NHL 60 26 23 8 3489 158 2 2.72 .903
2010–11 Minnesota Wild NHL 51 22 23 5 2978 158 3 2.66 .916
2011–12 Minnesota Wild NHL 46 19 18 7 2590 105 4 2.43 .919
2012–13 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 24 15 3 1072 98 2 2.48 .909
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 21 5 11 2 1094 55 0 3.02 .899
2014–15 Minnesota Wild NHL 19 5 7 3 1005 51 0 3.04 .887
2015–16 Calgary Flames NHL 4 2 2 0 233 13 0 3.35 .881
NHL totals 413 196 144 50 23481 975 28 2.49 .914 11 3 8 658 28 0 2.55 .911
Bäckström playing for the Finland national team
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing Finland Finland
Winter Olympics
Silver medal – second place 2006 Turin
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2016 Russia
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Quebec City
World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
Gold medal – first place 1998 Finland

International[edit]

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2005 Finland EHT 3 2 0 1 180 7 1 2.23 .928
2005 Finland WC 5 1 1 3 310 12 1 2.32 .902
2006 Finland EHT 2 0 2 0 124 3 0 1.45 .956
Senior totals 10 3 3 4 614. 22 2 2.14

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
  • 2015-16: Silver Medal, World Championship

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Roger Crozier saving grace award". hockeyworldblog.org. 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2015-04-03. 
  2. ^ "Minnesota Wild – Team: Niklas Backstrom Official Player Page". National Hockey League. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  3. ^ "Wild 6, Predators 5". hockeyreference.com. 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2006-10-07. 
  4. ^ "Wild blank Coyotes". hockeyreference.com. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  5. ^ Wild Signs Goalie Backstrom ESPN, March 3, 2009
  6. ^ "Wild Acquires David Jones, Trades Niklas Backstrom To Calgary". wild.nhl.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  7. ^ "Niklas Backstrom, Juha Aaltonen sign with HIFK" (in Finnish). HIFK. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-06-10. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
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