I cannot say that I’ve been his biggest supporter over the years, but it was still pretty surprising to see Jose Theodore go jobless for so long despite putting together a fairly impressive regular season with the Washington Capitals. It seemed like the former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner would be sitting on the sidelines for some of the 2010-11 season, but reports indicate that the Minnesota Wild handed him a one-year, $1.1 million deal today. Here’s TSN’s take.
Theodore is expected to report to the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston on Monday and will miss the Wild’s trip to Europe to start the season. The Wild are set to face Finnish side Tampere on Monday before opening their season against the Hurricanes on Thursday in Helsinki.
The Wild were in the market for a backup netminder when Harding tore both his ACL and MCL last month in a pre-season contest with the St. Louis Blues when he collided with Blues’ forward Brad Boyes. Harding will undergo surgery and is expected to miss the entire season.
It seemed like Minnesota might go with a goalie in their system, but they either saw something they didn’t like in the team’s preseason games or wanted a “proven” backup since Josh Harding is on the shelf for the season.
If this report is accurate, the Wild will employ one of the league’s most expensive goalie rotations ($7.1 million overall, with Niklas Backstrom earning $6 million and Theodore getting $1.1 million). That’s a lot of money, but at least the team should have some piece of mind.
The oddest thing about Minnesota’s structure is that the team is deceptively expensive. Their CapGeek.com figures are a little off-kilter at the moment with two more than the maximum 25 players on their roster, but it’s still clear that their roster is littered with questionable deals. They’re paying four mediocre-to-passable defensemen at least $3 million and can only really call the last year of Mikko Koivu’s contract a “bargain” before his second deal kicks up to $6.75 million per year in 2011-12.
To some extent, fans who consistently fill up the arena (though that trend might not continue) cannot criticize the team for being cheap anymore. Yet they hit the nail on the head if they’re asking for the Wild to spend their money more wisely.
All that being said, I actually agree with the logic of the Theodore signing, even if it makes their goalie duo extremely pricey in a league where goalies are seeing shrinking salaries.