Any plans the Minnesota Wild had to buyout the final year of Niklas Backstrom’s contract have been put in jeopardy.
The goaltender underwent elbow surgery following the season.
“He had a procedure done at the end of the season to clean up a problem that happened earlier in the year,” Chuck Fletcher told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. “I honestly don’t know the full prognosis at this point, but it’s not a long-term thing and we’re hoping that he’ll be good to go in short order and healthy.”
With goaltender Devan Dubnyk likely headed for a new multi-year deal with Minnesota and Darcy Kuemper unable to go to the American Hockey League without clearing waivers, buying out Backstrom seems like a logical move.
Backstrom is owed $3.4 million for the 2015-16 season.
The NHL buyout period begins June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final (whichever is later) until June 30.
The 37-year-old appeared in 19 games for the Wild during the 2014-15 season posting a 5-7-3 record to go a long with a 3.04 G.A.A. and a .887 save percentage.
Forward Thomas Vanek underwent surgery in Philadelphia last week for a sports hernia. The 31-year-old is expected to require six weeks of recovery time.
“It bothered him for a lot of the second half,” Fletcher said. “We gave it some rest, but it didn’t seem to be getting better, so we opted for the surgical route. We expect him to be 100 percent by training camp.”
Vanek had 21 goals and 51 points in 80 regular season games. He was held to just four assists in 10 playoff games.